Matt Kenseth, Roush still a winning tandem
Tuesday, Oct. 09, 2012
Matt Kenseths first Cup win came at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Roush Racing.
That win in the Coca-Cola 600 came more than 12 years ago.
This weekend, Kenseth, who will leave Roush Fenway Racing for Joe Gibbs Racing next season, can bookend his tenure with the organization with a victory at Charlotte in Saturday nights Bank of America 500.
Kenseth is in 12th place, 62 points behind Sprint Cup leader Brad Keselowski, in pursuit of his second series title, but he says he feels good about his chances at Charlotte. He won this race a year ago and is coming off a victory Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, his second win of the season.
Weve been working really hard, especially on our stuff for Charlotte and our intermediate track stuff, said Kenseth, who has 23 Cup wins, all with team owner Jack Roush.
Everyone at Roush Fenway was disappointed with our performance at Atlanta, Chicago and really Dover (Del.). Theyve been really on it working hard to make our stuff better.
Kenseth, who announced this summer he would be joining Gibbs organization, said there has been no animosity over his impending departure.
I think if we were running terrible or werent getting along, it would a difficult time right now, but everyone has been as good as gold to me theyve always been and they still are, Kenseth said.
They are giving us everything we need to try to win races and Sunday was proof of that. Were working as hard as we can until the end of 2012 and it really says a lot about Roush Fenways integrity because they havent done anything any different since Im leaving.
Kenseth, who also won the season-opening Daytona 500, and teammate Greg Biffle qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup but have struggled since it started four weeks ago.
Sundays win was Kenseths first finish better than 14th since the Chase began.
Its really important for me to finish this thing off on a high note, he said. It would just break my heart if the thing was broken when I left, so I certainly didnt want that. We had a really rough few weeks in the Chase with parts breaking and falling off and not getting good finishes and running good.
Everybody was getting close to being at each others throats and things like that, so its important for me to really try to keep that whole unit as a cohesive, front-running, championship-contending unit.
The next step will come Saturday at Charlotte, where Kenseth has two victories in 26 starts, plus a win in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
Charlotte has been a pretty good track for us lately, Kenseth said. Im looking forward to getting in there this weekend and seeing how our stuff performs compared to the competition.
Roush, for one, hopes there are still more victories ahead.
I hope (Talladega is) not the last race we win together, but it wasnt my choice that we would end our relationship this year, he said.
But it is what it is and Ill take what I can get between now and then and Ill remember it with great pride and satisfaction.