KENSETH FINISHES WHERE HE STARTED Matt Kenseth in the Ameriquest Ford Fusion HAMPTON, G.A. (March 18, 2006) - After battling with Jeff Burton for the lead throughout the 300 mile Nicorette 300 and leading close to 80 laps, Matt Kenseth finished...
KENSETH FINISHES WHERE HE STARTED
Matt Kenseth in the Ameriquest Ford Fusion
HAMPTON, G.A. (March 18, 2006) - After battling with Jeff Burton for the lead throughout the 300 mile Nicorette 300 and leading close to 80 laps, Matt Kenseth finished fourth under the checkered flag.
As everyone has heard all weekend, all of the drivers love coming to the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kenseth's explanation for this: "It's just real fast. As race car drivers we like to go fast." And that is exactly what he did on Saturday afternoon.
After qualifying 4th earlier in the day Kenseth started out the 195 lap race with a quick push up to 2nd by lap 9 and was leading the race by lap 26. Kenseth mentioned early in the competition that the "car is great" and strategized with crew chief Chad Norris to stay out of the pits as long as his tires would let him.
The first pit stop for the No. 17 Ameriquest team came on lap 42 when the caution flag came out. The team made a few minor adjustments to the car as well as giving it four tires and fuel before sending Kenseth back out on the track.
Soon after resuming the race Kenseth complained of a little bit of a vibration in the car. Later it was found that the tires on the No. 17 car were wearing slightly uneven. A problem that was resolved with a few adjustments.
When the caution flag came out again on lap 87 Kenseth headed for pit road for four tires, fuel and a windshield. Due to a complication during the stop Kenseth left pit road in 10th place after entering in 1st.
Throughout the remainder of the race Kenseth worked his way back up to the front and regained the leading position by lap 154. He was closely followed by Jeff Burton in the No. 21 and Kasey Kahne in the No.9.
It was looking like all the hard work was going to pay off for Matt Kenseth, leading the race with 20 laps to go. Then out of no where the car started too tight up and Kenseth slowly dropped back to 4th place behind Burton, Kahne and teammate Greg Biffle, which is where he finished.
"We ran pretty well," said Kenseth following the race. "We just didn't do the right adjustments at the end. We just got a little too tight and a little too slow."
Although the battle between Burton and Kenseth for first went on throughout the second half of the race, Kenseth showed nothing but support to the driver of the No. 21 car. Immediately following the race Kenseth jumped out of his car and headed to victory lane to congratulate his friend on a great finish.
"It was a good race. I was too tight and I knew we were gonna get beat." Kenseth said when asked about the fight up front for the finish. "When your car is pushing into the middle of the run you know it's gonna be really bad. I knew we were gonna get beat there at the end. I was just trying to hold on as long as I could."
A feeling of frustration is what the No. 17 Ameriquest team was expressing after the finish of the race, but with the excellent runs he has had in the Busch Series so far this season crew chief Chad Norris is optimistic about the coming week in Bristol.
"After finishing 2nd in Vegas we were really looking forward to Atlanta since it is such a great track and we knew we had a good car," said Norris. "We fell a little short in our debut in the Ameriquest Ford Fusion so we have a few things to work on, but Bristol is coming up next weekend and I think we still have a good chance. So we are excited about that."
Norris went onto say, "we led a lot of laps during the race and Matt said that he had a lot of fun driving the car so I am happy about that."
The No. 17 Ameriquest team will be in Bristol next Saturday, March 25th to give it another shot. The race is scheduled to start at 3:10pm EST. Follow the Ameriquest Dream Team's results on www.ameriquestracing.com.