By admin | October 13, 2008
By Richard Allen
When the Chase for the Championship began Matt Kenseth admitted that he did not consider himself among the favorites. However, In the Chase races he has been allowed to complete, he has fared quite well. Unfortunately, he has only been allowed to finish two of those five races.
A 2nd in Dover and a 5th in Kansas seemed to indicate the Cambridge, Wisconsin native might be more of a Chase factor than even he originally believed.
The problem for Kenseth is that he was been swept up trouble created by other drivers on three different occasions over the last five races.
In New Hampshire, lapped cars racing outside the Top 20 got tangled together and forced Kenseth hard into the outside wall. He finished a disappointing 40th in a race in which he appeared destined for a Top 10. With no bonus points going into the Chase such a disastrous finish almost doomed his title hopes at the very start of the playoff.
Then, the consecutive Top 5 results in Dover and Kansas made it seem as though the #17 team was about to pull themselves back into the hunt.
Talladega brought a return of Kenseth’s bad luck. He raced near the front of the pack all day until teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle drove from the rear of the pack to the front and immediately got together, triggering a multi car wreck. That wreck included Kenseth. He wound up 26th as a result of that accident in a race he had a chance to win.
Lowe’s Motor Speedway brought more of the same for the 2003 Sprint Cup champion. His car did not appear to be a solid contender at first but was showing signs of improvement. Then, a spin occurred in front of Kenseth. He seemingly had the wreck cleared when Travis Kvapil suddenly steered hard left and clipped car #17 in the right rear, sending the Ford head on into the wall and ruining another day. A 41st place was the undeserved reward.
Matt Kenseth’s Chase for the Championship would be going fine if not for the actions of others. Now, all he can hope for is to end his current winless streak and build toward next 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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