RICHMOND, Va. (May 6, 2001) -- Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Racing team posted their second best finish of the season last night on the .75 mile track at Richmond International Raceway. Kenseth and the team qualified the car in...
RICHMOND, Va. (May 6, 2001) -- Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Racing team posted their second best finish of the season last night on the .75 mile track at Richmond International Raceway.
Kenseth and the team qualified the car in the 19th position. Shortly after the green flag fell, Kenseth moved up into the 14th position. The 17 car was handling like a dream as Kenseth held steady in the position, often running the same lap times as the leader. Lapped traffic soon became a force to contend with as the real estate between Kenseth and the leader got bigger.
The first pit stop came under green flag conditions at lap 111. The 17 team made a track bar adjustment and put on four fresh Goodyear tires. Caution soon followed at lap 121.
Kenseth radioed in to crew chief Robbie Reiser that the car was great on long green flag runs, and he was going to conserve his tires and brakes so he'd be a contender at the end.
On lap 197, the 17 team was in the 12th position when a wreck on the backstretch brought out another yellow flag. The team brought Kenseth into the pits on lap 199, and gave him four tires and fuel. The 14.96 second pit stop advanced Kenseth to the 9th position.
After the race went back to green, lapped cars once again became cumbersome as they held up Kenseth from gaining track position on the leader.
The team made another track bar adjustment on lap 282 and turned in another impressive pit stop. With 10 to go Kenseth was running in the 9th position. A caution on lap 392 brought out the red flag while safety crews cleared up the track. Pit strategy became a question as Kenseth and Reiser debated on whether to bring the car in and take on two or four tires. When the race restarted, the leaders did not pit so the DEWALT Team stayed on the track as well.
The green flew on lap 398 and Kenseth brought the 17 car across the finish line two laps later in the 8th position.
"We were decent all night," stated Kenseth. "That was a lot better than we had been and we were a top-10 car all night and finished eighth, so that's a good run for us -- a good boost for us and hopefully it will move us up in the points a little bit. I tried to keep the tires on the car and try to be as smart as I could about things and try to make it to the end. I just tried to keep the car in one piece and try to stay out of trouble. I haven't been very good at the short tracks like this one and Martinsville, and I think a lot of that is just me being impatient and overdriving the car. We found a setup we seem to like and tried to slow myself down a little bit and keep the tires on it until the end. It was a good effort by this DEWALT Team."
The 8th place finish moved Kenseth into the 11th place in the championship point standings.
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series has Mother's Day weekend off. The next venue is The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Kenseth, the defending champ of the Coca Cola 600, will be a first time entry into the Winston on a track where he brought home his first Winston Cup Series win.