Matt Kenseth and Jimmy Fennig (crew Chief for the #17 Roush Racing entry) made a last minute call to get some track position, and it turned out to be the call of the day, as it got them out front and into Victory Lane.Ã‚Â Kenseth’s 2nd win of the season most assuredly locks him into the chase thanks to NASCAR opening the bottom 2 slots (11th and 12th) to wild card slots for those with the most wins.Ã‚Â While Kenseth’s teammate Carl Edwards had been running out front all day, Kenseth was having trouble getting his car to the front through traffic as the track blackened with rubber, causing slick conditions for everyone to deal with throughout the race.
“That rubber was awful. It has been like that the last three times here. It was really a hinderance for me more than other people,” Kenseth said. “I could really run fast on a green track, but when the sun came out and the rubber started piling we went backward.”
So who’s decision was it that won the race for Kenseth?Ã‚Â Matt says it was all Jimmy Fennig, Jimmy says it was all Matt.
“That was all Matt there,” said Kenseth’s crew chief, Jimmy Fennig. “He figured we need to have clean air, and he called two tires and we did two and away we went.”
“Not exactly, honestly I was sitting on the track and thinking we should stay out and get clean air and try it because I knew we wouldn’t win if we took four,”Ã‚Â explained Kenseth. “Jimmy wanted four, but as I was driving down pit road I thought maybe we could compromise.
“It was really Jimmy’s call and just a suggestion by me.”
I say it is the end result of 2 teammates working together to achieve the best result, and it shows in the win column for Kenseth.
“Honestly, I was sitting on the track and thinking that we should stay out and get clean air and try it, because I knew we wouldn’t win if we took four,” Kenseth said. “Jimmy wanted four, but as I was driving down pit road, I thought maybe we could compromise.
“While I was on the jack, I asked if he was sure we didn’t want to try two, and he said to put on two. It was really Jimmy’s call and just a suggestion by me. It was tough to pass on top of that rubber out there.”
But getting into the chase on wins is the furthest thing from Kenseth’s mindset set as he looks forward this season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Jimmy’s goal, Jack’s (Roush) and mine and the team’s is not to worry about that,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kenseth said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That’s the last thing on my mind right now. On my mind is to try to be up there and leading on points going into the Chase, trying to make the Chase, be in championship form, be able to put together some more wins and go out there and race for a championship.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We don’t want to slide in off of wins if we’re 18th in points or something. We want to go out there and race like this every week.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Carl Edwards had a heck of a day but just could not capitalize with a win, still leads the field in points overall.Ã‚Â While he had the car that everyone felt was the one to beat he ended up with a 7th place finish after taking 2 tires on the last caution.Ã‚Â Yet he doesn’t look to lay blame for who made what call or decided not to gamble.
“That’s too tough of a choice to make right there, and I don’t blame Bob Osborne one bit,” Edwards said. “I thought we would be able to march up through there, and I thought the race would be between Clint and I. I did see a couple cars go fast early on two tires, but I really felt we were going to have something. If we had had a caution, who knows what would have happened.
“You can’t look back, you have to look forward,” Edwards said. “We still have the points lead and the fastest car here today.”
Mark Martin tried a different late race call, and while it did not win him the race, it moved him into better contention in the points as he climbed into 11th spot, only 4 points behind 10th place Tony Stewart, with his second place finish.Ã‚Â Staying out on the track while the field came in for tires and fuel, Martin and Lance McGrew opted for track position and led the field to the flag on the final restart, but Martin was unable to hold of the charging Kenseth for the lead just 2 laps after the restart.
“We just about pulled one off there,” Martin said of his eighth career Dover second place. “We would have had to be a little bit faster [to have a shot to win].”
When asked about the slick conditions on the track from the rubber build up Martin had this to say.
“It was almost dangerous,” Martin said. “Before that last caution came out I felt like it was dangerous. I just didn’t feel like I could pass anyone without getting in a wreck, unless they allowed you to clear them. You couldn’t run side-by-side [but] it was great — a great Dover.”
“We had a really fast race car and we finally got a finish,” Martin said. “It looked like we were going to get 15th again with a really fast race car. We’ve had a race car this good a lot this year but it seems like for some reason or another we wind up in the back of the pack and we just don’t have enough to climb our way back to the front.”
I think this is a good race team,” McGrew said. “We’ve managed to scrape together a few finishes with some bad luck, with tearing up some cars, and doing this and doing that. But I don’t think you’ve seen as good as this team can be.
“These guys deserved a good finish because we’ve worked really hard and we’ve had some stuff bite us. If it wasn’t for the crash (and the 36th-place finish it resulted in) at Texas we’d be pretty solid in the top 10 right now. But we’re close, and we had to have a good car to do it.”
Marcos Ambrose chalked up his best finish of the season, finishing 3rd and proving once again that he is more than just a road course racer, and truly a Sprint Cup racer.
“I had a fast car today and we lost a little track position,” said Ambrose. “I thought I had something for ’em but the downforce went away and I wore my front tires out.”
Kyle Busch picked up his 5th top 5 finish for this season regardless of having to start deep in the field due to an engine change late Friday.Ã‚Â Although he was able to pass and moved from 31st up through the field to finishÃ‚Â 4th, Busch also had issues with the conditions on the track.
“A lot of guys really struggled with the rubber on this surface,” Kyle Busch said. “You’re butt and elbows in the air.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr ran in the top 10 all day long finished, 12th and remained fourth in the Cup standings, 52 points behind Edwards.
Tony Stewart was having a rough day at Dover, anyway. He told his crew he was having balance problems, and after he pitted, he had to come back a second time because he apparently didn’t get enough fuel in his first stop. He also was overheard on his radio saying he was “loose as (expletive.)” When Stewart returned to the track, he was three laps down.
Stewart finished 29th and dropped three positions in the standings to 10th.