HUNTERSVILLE, NC - Matt Kenseth is getting ready to tackle Pocono Raceway, the unique 2.5-mile triangular racetrack in Eastern Pennsylvania. Crew chief Robbie Reiser and the No. 17 DEWALT race team have done everything they can to make sure...
HUNTERSVILLE, NC - Matt Kenseth is getting ready to tackle Pocono Raceway, the unique 2.5-mile triangular racetrack in Eastern Pennsylvania. Crew chief Robbie Reiser and the No. 17 DEWALT race team have done everything they can to make sure he's prepared.
On June 1st, Kenseth and the team tested at Pocono. Even though it was wedged between two sponsor appearances the week after its first win at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend, the team squeezed it in because it was a priority.
Pocono is the second of just four tracks on the Winston Cup circuit that Kenseth has never been to before, others include Martinsville Speedway, Sears Point Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The important thing for the team to perform well both in the June and July races is for Kenseth to get seat time.
"We didn't make many setup changes," Kenseth said. "The racetrack is such a unique design that we just ran our race setup and ran a lot of laps to get me used to it."
The track presents a unique set of challenges like no other track on the circuit and Kenseth is ready to take them on.
"It's basically a triangular racetrack with sharp corners. Turn one you come in going about 195 mph and you have to get on the brakes hard, downshift and turn sharply, sharper than 90 degrees. There's a dogleg in the middle of the backstretch that you have to carry as much momentum through as possible. If you don't carry the speed through the backstretch, you won't be able to get through the corners as well as the frontrunners."
Reiser's testing plan was again geared towards getting Kenseth familiar and comfortable with racing at the track. He sees the race experience as more important than getting a good qualifying spot through practicing qualifying runs.
"We weren't qualifying during the test," Kenseth said. "We left the car in race trim and tried to figure out what the car needed and what it would do as the tires wore out. The racetrack takes a lot of experience to run and that's why you'll probably see the veteran guys do well this Sunday."
"We ran 120 laps and tried to run consistent lap times and figure out the track. We're bringing the same car that we raced at California, Darlington, Vegas and last weekend at Michigan. I like our chances as much as any other rookie in the field."
Kenseth currently sits a top of the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, 184 to 171 over Dale Earnhardt Jr. His 17th place finish at Michigan last Sunday lifted him to 11th in the championship points from 12th.
Kenseth's Roush Racing team is currently based in Concord, North Carolina, and shares space with Chad Little's team. They team up with Mark Martin, Jeff Burton (based in Mooresville, N.C.), and Kevin Lepage (based in Concord) on the Winston Cup circuit; with Martin and Burton on the Busch Series; and with Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle (Livonia, Michigan) on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Roush Racing is the largest motorsports team in the world and is a subsidiary of Roush Industries, Inc. a Livonia, Michigan, based prototype, engineering and development company servicing the automotive as well as other industries.