MATT KENSETH WINS THE POLE AND FINISHES SECOND AT LAS VEGAS Matt Kenseth in the Pennzoil Platinum Ford Fusion LAS VEGAS, N.V. (March 11, 2006) -- Thirty-four may just be Matt Kenseth's new lucky number. Not only did he turn 34 years old on ...
MATT KENSETH WINS THE POLE AND FINISHES SECOND AT LAS VEGAS
Matt Kenseth in the Pennzoil Platinum Ford Fusion
LAS VEGAS, N.V. (March 11, 2006) -- Thirty-four may just be Matt Kenseth's new lucky number. Not only did he turn 34 years old on Friday, but he was 34th to go during qualifying Saturday afternoon, which resulted in him winning the Bud Pole.
After running a single qualifying lap at a time of 31.797 seconds the No. 17 was moved to the top of the pole and there it stayed. Securing that starting position certainly did not hinder Kenseth's chances in the race later that afternoon, where he finished 2nd.
Despite questionable weather lingering in the mountains surrounding the Las Vegas Motor Speedway the Sam's Town 300 got underway on Saturday afternoon at 3:40pm PST. Although there was no precipitation causing delays, temperatures were close to freezing at the track making the day ideal for a competitive race.
"[The track] is not quite as fast as Kansas and Chicago, so setup is probably more important here than Kansas and Chicago," Kenseth said about the mile-and-a-half D-shaped track. "You gotta turn real well though one and two, and three and four are kind of slippery on exit. So, it's a little bit more fun."
Kenseth started out on Saturday running strong and continued to run that way as he led the first 60 laps of the race. The No. 17 Pennzoil Platinum team made the first pit stop of the day under a green flag for fresh tires, fuel and a few air pressure adjustments. Kenseth got back out on the track in 14th position and was able to work his way back up to 5th within 10 laps.
Early in the race Kenseth let crew chief Chad Norris know that the car was running pretty good, but was sliding a little bit.
By lap 93 Kenseth was in need for another pit stop during which adjustments were made to the wedge and further air pressure adjustments were made in the left and right rear tires.
At this point in the race a battle between Kasey Kahne and Kenseth had begun. Running 2nd and 3rd respectively, with Kevin Harvick in the lead, Kenseth and Kahne continued to push the envelope to secure a front running position.
On lap 158 Kenseth finally managed to pass Kahne and move into 2nd place. He then dropped back to 3rd for about 6 laps during which time Kahne moved into the lead.
When a caution came out with 3 laps to go Kahne, Kenseth and Harvick were running 1, 2 and 3. The race ended with a green, white, checker finish. It was close, but Kahne finished fractions of a second ahead of Kenseth. "It is hard to pass on a green, white, checker," said Kenseth. "The tires are old and worn. I knew it was going to be tough to get past him, but I was hoping we had a shot."
Crew Chief Chad Norris had some comments also had comments about the team's performance that afternoon. "We started out pretty good at the beginning of the race. The car was handling pretty good. We had good pit stops all day. We just missed it there a little bit at the beginning."
"The track rubbered up a little bit more than we thought it was going to." Norris continues, "We didn't quite adjust enough for the track conditions so we just kind of got behind and finally caught up in the second and third stops. Turned out to be a good finish for us."
This marked the second top-5 finish in the Busch Series for Kenseth at Las Vegas followed by a sixth place finished in the Busch race here in 2004.