Long Pond: Matt Kenseth race report

Kenseth plagued by transmission problems at Pocono. LONG POND, Pa. (June 9, 2002) --For the second week in a row, Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT race team experienced bad luck on the race track. After starting in the fourth position for the Pocono...

Kenseth plagued by transmission problems at Pocono.

LONG POND, Pa. (June 9, 2002) --For the second week in a row, Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT race team experienced bad luck on the race track. After starting in the fourth position for the Pocono 500, the team was relegated to a 35th place finish due to a broken transmission.

The skies were sunny on Friday for qualifying, but drenching rains from the day before saturated the ground, causing water to seep through the 2.5 mile track. The conditions forced NASCAR to cancel track activities for the day and the field had to be set according to points. Track officials worked through the night to repair the problem in time for Saturday's practice.

Kenseth was middle of the road in Saturday's practice, placing 21st on the speed charts.

Sunday brought sunny skies, and warm weather. Kenseth and crew chief Robbie Reiser made some changes before the race, and left room in the setup for adjustments. In the weekly team meeting, Reiser told the team to concentrate on their performance on pit road because of the importance of track position at Pocono.

When the race began, Kenseth moved into the third position on the first lap. It didn't take long for the car to become tight in the center and loose off the corners. Kenseth fell back to 10th as he fought the ill handling race car.

On lap 32, Kenseth brought the car into the pits for service. The DEWALT team made a track bar adjustment and changed four tires in 14.5 seconds. The car responded to the adjustment as expected, and Kenseth maintained his position in the top-10.

As the race wore on the car was still loose but the weather conditions changed. Clouds passing over Pocono helped Kenseth gain more grip on the track. The car tightened up when the sun returned. The next pit stop was on lap 67 while Kenseth was running fourth. The DEWALT crew sent Kenseth back out onto the track in the same position with the 14.6 second stop.

On lap 85, Kenseth's teammate Kurt Busch tangled with Ryan Newman bringing out the caution flag once again. Matt brought the No. 17 car into the pits in third place, and the DEWALT crew sent him out as the leader.

Kenseth's stint as the leader was short lived, because the transmission broke on lap 92. The team replaced the transmission and made all necessary repairs in only 38 laps. When Matt returned to competition, he was 38th on the grid.

When Dale Jarrett took the checkered flags for the win, Kenseth was in 35th place.

"This team did a hell of a job today," commented Reiser. "We can't help it that things break on us every now and then."

"It's just unfortunate to have a transmission break when you are leading," said Kenseth. "Pocono is tough on transmissions and engines. I don't know if we had a winning car, but we sure had a top-10 car. I'm disappointed because now it's two bad weeks in a row. I guess you can't have luck every week. It certainly has not been two of our luckiest weeks."

The finish dropped Kenseth to seventh in the point standings as the DEWALT team heads to Michigan.

-jrr/dewalt-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman