Kenseth’s Race Ends Early, Finishes 37th at Phoenix
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP Series; Camping world 500
Phoenix International Speedway
Matt Kenseth Race Summary
No. 20 Tide PODS Toyota Camry
Started: 12th • Finished: 37th • 190/314
72 total points for the season; 20th in the driver point standings following the race
Kenseth’s Race Ends Early Forcing Him to Finish 37th at Phoenix
· NASCAR continued its string of west coast races with this weekend’s visit to Phoenix International Raceway. For Matt Kenseth and his No. 20 team, it was the first weekend to fly the primary colors of the Tide PODS sponsorship aboard their Toyota Camry in 2017. Kenseth started from 12th on Sunday afternoon, and fought handling in his Tide PODS Camry for most of the race before a blown right-front tire on lap 191 slammed the No. 20 machine into the wall, ending the team’s afternoon. The hard hit relegated the team to a 37th-place finish at Phoenix.
· Sunday’s Camping World 500 took the green flag at 12:48 p.m. PST as Kenseth rolled off in the outside lane from 12th. On the opening run of the race, Kenseth maintained his positioning and called in over team radio to crew chief Jason Ratcliff that the Tide PODS Camry had taken off well, but then loosened up late in the run. The first caution of the day came at lap 28, and Ratcliff made the call for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment.
· Kenseth lined up in 13th for the restart and dipped back to 15th when the end of stage 1 came at lap 75. Kenseth and Ratcliff used the break in action to further discuss the handling of the No. 20. Kenseth reported that the Tide PODS Camry started out tight, but then became slow across the middle. Ratcliff opted for another four-tire stop with adjustments as the team continued to work on improving the handling for their driver.
· Over the next run, Kenseth was running in 15th but continued to face challenges from his racecar. Tightness in the middle and the front nose of the car sliding made it difficult for Kenseth to be able to dive his Tide PODS into the corners like he wanted to in order to battle for position. Stage 2 ended following lap 150, and under the caution, Ratcliff called his driver in for another round of adjustments.
· When the race returned to green to begin lap 158, Kenseth was scored in 14th after a speedy stop by the pit crew. Quietly focused, Kenseth and the team worked to try to maintain position out on the track, but on lap 191, Kenseth careened into the outside wall coming off Turn 4. The Tide PODS Camry blew the right-front tire and it sent the car hard into the wall. The damage was so immense that Kenseth was not able to drive his car back to pit road and the team was out of the race.
· Kenseth was scored with a 37th-place finish Sunday afternoon and fell to 20th in the driver point standings. Ryan Newman drove off with the win on Sunday earning his first win in the series since 2013. Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five finishers at Phoenix.
Matt Kenseth’s Post-Race Thoughts:
What happened to take you out of the race?
“We just blew a front tire. We kind of struggled with our Tide PODS Camry for most of the day. We got a little bit better that run, but we weren’t handling the way we needed to for sure, and it just ended up failing a front tire.”
2017 SEASON SUMMARY:
Auto Club 400
Auto Club Speedway (2.0-mile track)
Sunday, March 26, 2017