And Richmond makes four. RICHMOND, Va. (September 8, 2002)-- Matt Kenseth overcame two flat tires, made up for two laps lost, and the potential for a fuel shortage to win his fourth race of the season Saturday night in the Monte Carlo 400 ...
And Richmond makes four.
RICHMOND, Va. (September 8, 2002)-- Matt Kenseth overcame two flat tires, made up for two laps lost, and the potential for a fuel shortage to win his fourth race of the season Saturday night in the Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Kenseth and the DEWALT Team qualified their brand new car in the 25th position. Final practice speeds were indicative the No. 17 car was going to be strong for the event.
After a patriotic tribute to America and those whose lives were changed forever by the events of September 11th, Kenseth's main focus at the start was getting to the front. Early race cautions for wrecks made for slow-going during the first 25 laps. Kenseth broke into the top-20 and was moving up when the right front tire blew on lap 66. A caution came out on the track, but Kenseth lost a lap and was in 37th position when the field went back to racing.
The DEWALT car got back onto the lead lap on lap 104 when he passed race leader Ryan Newman. Kenseth and the team were patient and made slight adjustments on the car because of a loose condition during the pit stop on lap 111. He was in 30th position on the restart on lap 113.
From lap 113 to lap 163 Kenseth charged through the field from 30th to eighth place. On lap 169, Kenseth had another flat right front tire, and fell back to 32nd position, one lap down - again.
He picked off cars one by one as the laps went on the scoreboard. On lap 201, he got his lap back by passing the leader, Michael Waltrip on the way to the caution flag. Kenseth pitted again on lap 208 and capitalized on a few of the lead lap cars missing pit road. He was in fifth position after the DEWALT crew pulled off a 13.85 second four tire stop.
Crew chief Robbie Reiser realized it was the air pressure settings on the DEWALT car which was causing the right front tires to go flat. Kenseth was cautious of the situation, and careful not to abuse the tires as he raced to the front of the field. He pulled into the second position on lap 238 and was the fastest car. He took the lead on lap 258.
The final pit stop for the DEWALT team was on lap 274. Kenseth came into the pits with the lead, and went back out fourth. On 293 he took the lead back, and lead for the rest of the race.
With 30 laps to go, Reiser radioed Kenseth and said he would be five laps short on fuel. Kenseth said then he would save the five laps. He opened up a 2.7 second lead on the rest of the field and conserved enough fuel to take the checkered flags for the fourth time this season.
Robbie Reiser was overjoyed. "This is a great race team. I'm not the smartest guy in the world and I probably almost killed Matt tonight with an air-pressure problem, but that was a great job by this race team and a great job by Matt. This whole race team deserves this. I don't deserve it for what we did to ourselves, but it was a great run."
Kenseth felt the same. "It was awesome to race from the back to the front again. I was worried, we had an awesome car, but man it was frustrating blowing those tires. Fuel was a question, but Robbie has never run me out of fuel. When he said I should go for it, I trusted that. Our car was a rocket tonight, the DEWALT car was awesome. It was good to get back up there and win again, because its so hard to do that these days with the level of competition."
Kenseth and the team will regroup and head to New Hampshire International Speedway next weekend.