Matt Kenseth found plenty of speed Sunday - on pit road

Matt Kenseth had plenty of speed in Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he showed it in the wrong places.

Matt Kenseth found plenty of speed Sunday - on pit road
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota pit stop
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Throughout the course of Sunday’s Folds of Honor 500, NASCAR assessed 13 speeding penalties on pit road among 11 different drivers. Unfortunately, Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson were only two drivers to get flagged more than once.

Kenseth was at times two laps down but rallied to return to the lead lap late in the race. On the final restart with 11 laps left, he surprisingly had a chance to challenge for the lead and ended up third.

“It was an uphill battle all day. For some reason, our speed was off on pit road and we got two penalties there that put us behind,” he said. “Everything kind of when our way at the end, except for that outside restart hurt us, but we had a good car and glad we got a decent result.”

Kenseth said after the second penalty, he stopped going by the indicator lights on his dash and just decided to take pit road visits “slow.”

“Everybody’s got the (pit road) map, but I don’t know what happened there because I was plenty safe from how we set everything, which is the same as last year,” he said.

“I was plenty safe when we got caught and when we went out the second time, I was still playing it safe and we got caught again leaving under that yellow, so there was something that just didn’t jive to our calculations for whatever reason.”

On the final restart, it appeared Kenseth was going to line up on the outside lane, which did not work well for most drivers during the race.

“I just couldn’t get rolling in that top lane. It’s such a disadvantage on restarts and we were going to line up third,” he said. “I was like, ‘Man, I don’t think anybody is going to beat Kevin (Harvick). He led all day, but we might at least have a shot.’

“But I ended up second and (Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski) cleared me and I just couldn’t get around them in that many laps.”

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