CUP: Third-Place Run Elevates Kenseth

Matt Kenseth wasn’t exactly thrilled that Jimmie Johnson whipped the field in Sunday’s FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway.

On the other hand, Kenseth walked away from the Monster Mile just a single point behind Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle for the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead.

Kenseth, the 2003 series champion, had an excellent run at Dover, finishing third behind Johnson and Kevin Harvick.

“I feel good about our position,” said Kenseth, who remained second in points to Biffle for the fourth consecutive race. “Early in the year, you want to be as high as you can in the points. Obviously, if we make the Chase (for the Sprint Cup), they rack up by wins and so that's really what you look at right now. But certainly we know we have got some work to do.”

Kenseth was pleased to score his seventh top-five finish in 13 races so far this season, a total that ties him with Biffle for most in the series.

He was less sanguine about the performance of his car, especially in the early stages of the race.

“Yeah, our finish was really good,” said Kenseth. “Our end result, can't really complain about that. We just kind of missed all day. Good thing we qualified good yesterday. Kept some track position. My car was really tough to pass with the setup that we had in it. Just really struggled getting the balance we needed to run fast.

So Kenseth and crew chief Jimmy Fennig used a series of adjustments to put some speed back into the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, which got the team back in contention in the second half of the event.

“Jimmy (Fennig) did a good job of recognizing what we did and got the car back to where we could keep up with everybody except for the 24 (Jeff Gordon) and the 48 (Johnson).”

Still, Kenseth was left scratching his head over the potency demonstrated by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Gordon and Johnson.

“I don't think anyone could run with the 24 and 48 today,” said Kenseth. “They seemed to me, anyway, that they were just in a league of their own and we had some work to do.”

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for You can follow him online at