CONCORD, N.C. — Matt Kenseth is ready to get back to work.
Kenseth and his first-year team at Joe Gibbs Racing have had plenty to celebrate this season with a Sprint Cup-best three victories and seven top-10 finishes in 11 events. But he wasn’t a factor last week in the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and knows he has some challenges to overcome before getting back to his winning ways in the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night.
“Last weekend didn’t exactly go as planned,” said Kenseth, who wound up ninth in the All-Star event.
Judging from Kenseth’s past performances in the 600, he might only need a couple of fast laps to turn things around. The 2003 champ won the circuit’s longest race in 2000, then finished among the top 10 in eight of the next 12.
“The 600 has always been unique,” Kenseth said. “We have our first win here so maybe that’s part of it. This is the first track that I made my first Nationwide start at and have more miles here at this track than at any other on the circuit.”
Kenseth qualified third for Sunday’s race.
LENDING A HAND: Owner Michael Waltrip and others in the NASCAR garage hope to bring attention to the needs of those affected by the Oklahoma tornadoes at the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend.
Michael Waltrip Racing’s three Sprint Cup cars will carry decals of Feed The Children, an Oklahoma City-based group that is providing food and resources to tornado victims. Michael Waltrip said he wanted to help out when he saw the devastation.
MWR cars driven by Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin will carry the decals in Sunday’s race. Michael and Darrell Waltrip held a charity golf event last year and Feed The Children was a beneficiary.
Swan Racing owner Brandon Davis is from Oklahoma. He still has family there and said Thursday that one of his cousins lost their house in the storm.
“It’s been a very emotional week,” Davis said.
Davis’s No. 30 car driven by David Stremme will also carry a decal for Feed The Children.