Loudon: Matt Kenseth preview

Kenseth Looks to Reverse Luck at New Hampshire Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Team battled back to an 18th-place finish last weekend at Sonoma, after being as far down as 39th in the race. The team will look to build on that late race momentum this ...

Loudon: Matt Kenseth preview

Kenseth Looks to Reverse Luck at New Hampshire

Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Team battled back to an 18th-place finish last weekend at Sonoma, after being as far down as 39th in the race. The team will look to build on that late race momentum this week at New Hampshire, where they will look to reverse a trend that has seen them finish outside of the top 10 in the last three, despite strong runs in all three outings.

AT LOUDON
This will be Kenseth's 19th start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In 18 starts he has five top-five finishes and 11 top 10's. Kenseth has finished inside the top 10 at 10 of the last 13 races at NHMS.

LAST SEASON
Last season marked only the second time and the frist times since his rookie year in 2000 that Kenseth did not score at top 10 finish at NHMS, losing out to track position on a rain delay in the spring and suffering an accident in the fall. In seven of his nine full-time Cup seasons, Kenseth has scored at least one top-10 at Loudon.

LOOKING FOR NUMBER WON
Kenseth will look for his first win this weekend at NHMS, but he has been close, finishing second there in the fall of '04 and third on two occasions (spring of '03 and fall of '05.) NHMS is one of 11 active tracks on the circuit where Kenseth has yet to win a Cup race. Kenseth's 18 wins have come at 11 of the active tracks and at Rockingham (where the series stopped racing after 2004.) In addition, Kenseth has led at all 22 tracks with the exception of Sonoma, including 88 laps at New Hampshire.

SNAKE BIT
Kenseth and the No. 17 have been strong in the last three races, despite results that indicate differently. The team led at Pocono and ran virtually the entire race inside the top five, before losing out to fuel mileage late and finishing 16th. A loose wheel at Michigan turned a top-five effort into a 19th-place finish and a wreck at Sonoma sent Kenseth from third to 40th, before he rebounded late to finish 18th.

IN THE POINTS
Kenseth moved up one spot to 10th place in the Sprint Cup point standings, 407 points outside of first, but only 94 points behind fifth.

MATT KENSETH:
"I haven't felt like New Hampshire has been one of my strongest tracks over the years, but yet if you look at our stats, our finishes have usually been pretty good. We have good finishes, but we're never that competitive. It seems like we'll run around 12 to 15th all day, have good stops and strategy and finish somewhere between seventh and 10th.

"It's always been a challenge. It's a challenge to pass here, although they've made it better over the years after they re-configured the track a while back, so it's just one of those tracks that's a challenge. It's a little bit unique and it's one that makes us work hard, that's for sure."

Last Year at Loudon...
6/29/08
Started: 12th - Finished: 40th

A pair of late-race cautions and Mother Nature ruined what could have been another top-10 finish. Kenseth took the green flag in the ninth position after laying down a lap time of 29.612 seconds during Friday afternoon's time trials. Throughout the 284-lap (shortened by 17 laps due to rain) event, Kenseth battled a loose-handling car, however throughout several adjustments made in scheduled pit stops, Kenseth had worked his way up to 11th-place.

When it looked as though Kenseth may be in top-10 contention, he was forced to pit for fuel. Just 13 laps later the race was red flagged and ultimately called for rain. Kenseth finished 18th and fell from 12th to 13th in the overall point standings.

-credit: rfr

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