Kenseth Posts Strong Third-Place Finish at Texas FT. WORTH, Texas (Nov. 8, 2009) -- Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Racing team turned in one of their strongest performances of the season in a third-place run Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kenseth Posts Strong Third-Place Finish at Texas
FT. WORTH, Texas (Nov. 8, 2009) -- Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Racing team turned in one of their strongest performances of the season in a third-place run Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Kenseth battled back from a 30th-place starting spot to earn his seventh top-five finish of the season and his sixth consecutive top-10 at TMS.
Short on finishing the race on fuel, crew chief Drew Blickensderfer opted to pit for two tires and fuel while running fourth with 21 laps to go. The move paid off with Kenseth fighting back to the third-place finish; the first car that pitted and did not gamble on fuel.
"These guys did a really good job on this DEWALT team this weekend," said Kenseth "We were pretty slow when we got here. We qualified 30th and had an uphill battle all day and I think we would have finished about third or fourth on performance and the way everything shook out, we still ran third, so, overall, I'm happy with that.
"We were 10 laps short so we did everything we could," added Kenseth. "I thought when we knew we were short on fuel and we came and got tires with 25 to go and fuel that we actually had a shot to win, if some of those guys didn't make it. But the No. 2 was real fast all day and Pat Tryson is famous for calling fuel-mileage races."
The team struggled in qualifying and started on the outside of row 15 in 30th position. Kenseth's Fusion was tight on the initial run and loose on the second. He needed 60 laps to move his No. 17 into the top 20, but the car picked up after an air pressure adjustment during the team's second stop on lap 89.
As the track conditions changed later in the day, Kenseth's car continued to pick up speed. The No. 17 over the wall team, who would gain over 10 positions on pit road during the race, put Kenseth inside the top 10 for the first time with a 12.78 second stop their fourth trip to the pits.
By lap 206, Kenseth had powered his way inside the field's top five, as he began to turn some of the fastest laps on the track. Running in fourth position on lap 313 the team used a two-tire stop to gain momentum on the field, with Kenseth eventually moving past all the cars that had to pit. Kurt Busch was able to stay out on fuel and collect the victory.
"I'm happy Kurt won because at least he was really fast all day and it wasn't like somebody running 20th ran around half-throttle and won the race. They were able to go a couple extra laps and be fast, and be able to stay out there. We just got tires and raced as hard as we could all day. I thought we had a third or fourth-place car on performance and even though the fuel mileage thing, the way it worked out when we had to pit and all that, we still finished third. So overall, it was a really great day for us. We started 30th and really had to battle hard for it all day long."
"It's been better. We've been gaining on it. Here, Charlotte, Dover, and Kansas we had really good runs going, so it seems like we're gaining on it. We've got to keep it rolling. Next week will be a good test for us. We've been terrible at the flat tracks, so that'll be a big test for us and then I'm looking forward to Homestead."
With two races remaining in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the series returns to Phoenix International Raceway next weekend for the 35th race of the season. Kenseth has posted one win (2002), five top five and six top 10 finishes in 14 career-Cup starts at PIR.