Long Pond II: Matt Kenseth race notes

LONG POND, Pa. (July 28, 2002) -- Matt Kenseth said he had a hard time passing cars in the running of the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, but he made his way from 22nd to eighth in the rain-shortened event. NASCAR made the decision...

LONG POND, Pa. (July 28, 2002) -- Matt Kenseth said he had a hard time passing cars in the running of the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, but he made his way from 22nd to eighth in the rain-shortened event. NASCAR made the decision to run 175 laps instead of 200 because of darkness and threatening weather. Bill Elliott won the 175 lap event followed by Kurt Busch, Sterling Marlin, Dale Jarrett and Ryan Newman.

With the same car they had at Pocono in June, Kenseth and the DEWALT Team ran well during practice sessions throughout the weekend. Even though the race started on time after early morning rains, and the threat of bad weather would play its part during the race.

On lap one, a grinding crash occurred between Rusty Wallace, Steve Park and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Park's machine hooked up with Earnhardt, Jr.'s and they slid across the grass in turn one. After hitting the retaining guardrail, Park's car flipped end over end before coming to rest on the drivers side. Both Park and Earnhardt, Jr. were uninjured. The race was red-flagged for over an hour in order for the track to make repairs to the damaged guardrail.

When the field started to move again, they only ran 30 laps before another two and a half hour delay for rain showers moving through the area.

The racing resumed about two and a half hours later. At first, Kenseth said his car was tight, but began to move through the field. Matt was in 12th position when he brought the car into the pits for adjustments. The DEWALT crew lowered the track bar and made an air pressure adjustment before sending Kenseth back out onto the track.

It was difficult for Kenseth to get within four car-lengths of the competition because his car was so tight. "If it wasn't for the car being so tight when I was behind other cars, we probably had a top five car if we had the right track position," said Kenseth. "Today was the worst I've seen it as far as passing."

The team attempted all day long to alleviate the tight condition for Kenseth. When the day was finished, Kenseth crossed the stripe in eighth.

"This is the same car we had last time and it didn't seem that bad, " explained Kenseth. "But today was just difficult all around. I don't know if we should have brought that car back, or if we were just off on everything. We all had a bad day I guess, and you cant win races like that. At least we got a decent finish out of a bad situation."

Kenseth's eighth place finish actually cost him a position in the point standings. The DEWALT Team is now 10th in the championship points and will test at Watkins Glen Monday and Tuesday before heading to Indianapolis.

-rr/dwr-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Rusty Wallace , Steve Park , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman