By admin | August 12, 2008
By Richard Allen
Matt Kenseth entered the Centurion Boats at The Glen in 13th place of the overall standings, just outside the all important Top 12. Even he would have probably admitted his chances were not too good for moving up in the standings on a road course. No doubt, he was just hoping to get through the race without losing very much ground and move on to tracks where he is more comfortable.
Kenseth did better than just get through the race. His 12th place result allowed him to actually move up a spot into 12th place of the points standings.
This might not have been thought too likely had his record on road courses been taken into account. Over the course of his career, he has had only four Top 10 finishes in 18 starts on these type tracks. Kenseth has led only one lap road courses.
On Saturday he drove to a solid 3rd place finish in the Nationwide event held at Watkins Glen International in preparation for the Sprint Cup race.
Now, with four races remaining before the Chase for the Championship cutoff occurs, the circuit heads to tracks in which the Cambridge, Wisconsin driver will almost certainly feel more comfortable.
Next, the series stops off in Michigan where Kenseth has recorded two wins and 12 Top 10s. Then, the Bristol Motor Speedway follows. He has tallied two wins, both in the August night race, and ten Top 10s on the East Tennessee half-mile.
On Labor Day weekend the race will be in California. Percentage wise, this is one of the driver of car #17â€™s best tracks. In only 13 attempts he has two wins and nine Top 10s to give him an average finish of 9.9 at Fontana.
The 26th race of the season, and the final race before the Chase cutoff, is held at the Richmond International Raceway. There, Kenseth has recorded one win and nine Top 10s.
Having been as low as 22nd in points going into the Darlington race on Motherâ€™s Day weekend, the Roush Fenway Racing #17 team has done a remarkable job of getting themselves back into contention for a season title. After a solid run at Watkins Glen they have to feel good about their chances over the next four races considering their driverâ€™s record on the upcoming tracks.
After Richmond, when teams look back at what they did or did not do to make the Chase, this team may well look back on the race at Watkins Glen as a key moment in their season.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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