Talladega: Matt Kenseth preview

Kenseth Looks to Get Back on Track At Talladega After struggling at Phoenix, Kenseth and the DEWALT team will look to get back on track this weekend at Talladega, where the series will host its second restrictor-plate race of the season....

Kenseth Looks to Get Back on Track At Talladega

After struggling at Phoenix, Kenseth and the DEWALT team will look to get back on track this weekend at Talladega, where the series will host its second restrictor-plate race of the season. Kenseth won the first this season in the Daytona 500, his first victory on a restrictor-place track.

Worthy Note:
Kenseth has led in 13 of his 18 starts at Talladega.

KENSETH AT TALLADEGA

This will be Kenseth's 19th start at Talladega Superspeedway, where he has an average finish of 18th. Kenseth has totaled six top-10 and three top-five finishes in nine seasons at the track. He finished top six in three straight from the fall of '05 through '06, and the 2006 season marked the only time in his career he has finished top 10 in both races there in the same season. However, he has not finished better than 14th since, including three consecutive finishes outside the top 25 in the past three races. In fact, he has not completed more than 173 of the 190 laps there since the spring of '07.

OUT FRONT

Despite having never won at Talladega, Kenseth has led in 13 of his 18 starts at the World's Fastest Speedway, including five laps there last fall.

DOUBLE DUTY

For the first time since 2001 Kenseth will put in double duty at Talladega, as he starts his first Nationwide race there in eight years. Kenseth has five previous starts in the series at the superspeedway. He earned top-10 finishes there in each of his first three starts, including a fourthplace finish in 1999. This will be Kenseth's first Nationwide start at Talladega in a Jack Roush owned car.

QUOTING MATT...

"Talladega is a lot like going to a 200-mph go-cart track. Everyone's cars handle there and you run wide open all day. At Daytona, the corners are much tighter and the surface is worn out, so handling is really important, but at Talladega it is much more about drafting and getting into the right position.

"The challenge is not getting in a wreck. You also have to have your car in the right place, with the right cars, so you don't get hung out and lose a lot of positions.

"We had a really tough race last week. To be honest, we've been less than stellar since winning the first two races of the season. We have to get the cars running better and we have to be much more consistent on pit road to have a shot at making the Chase and competing this season. I know we have the guys on this DEWALT team to get the job done, we just have to keep working until we find what we need to be more competitive week in and week out."

QUOTING DREW...

"Talladega is a place where being in the right place at the end is all that matters. We did learn some things in Daytona that we think will improve our speedway cars for the race. Matt is a really good drafter, so we are really looking forward to getting back to a restrictor-plate track. Our Daytona 500 car is still in the museum down in Daytona, so we have built a brand new car with all the same things as the 500 car and hopefully it will foster a similar result."

FAST FACTS

* Kenseth has an average finish of 18th at Talladega.

* Kenseth has six top-10 and three top-five finishes at Talladega.

* Kenseth has led in 13 of his 18 starts at Talladega.

* Kenseth will run his first Nationwide race at Talladega since 2001.

* Kenseth is currently 12th in the Sprint Cup point standings. He has been inside the top 12 since Aug. of '08.

Last Year at Talladega...
4/27/08
Started: 27th - Finished: 38th

In a race that is known as a "crapshoot," where anything can and does happen, Kenseth and crew were looking to avoid trouble and bring home a solid finish. Though Kenseth qualified a respectable 13th and was happy with the handling of his Ford, a blown right front tire on lap 19 of the 188-lap event sent the No. 17 team to the garage for repairs.

When the DEWALT crew finally bandaged up Kenseth's machine, he returned to the track in 42nd place, 35 laps down to the leaders. Kenseth limped around the track for the remainder of the race, ultimately finishing 41st.

-credit: rfr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Jack Roush