Box Score Info:
RACE: Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race
TRACK: Charlotte Motor Speedway
DRIVER: Matt Kenseth
CAR: No. 20 DEWALT “Benefitting Wounded Warrior Project” Toyota Camry
NASCAR’s top series took the weekend off from normal points competition this weekend to celebrate the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Matt Kenseth and his No. 20 team had qualified for the All-Star Race and the chance to compete for Saturday night’s top prize, one million dollars. Qualifying for the All-Star race took place on Friday evening and included a format where teams had to make three laps on track as well as a four-tire pit stop in each of the two rounds. Kenseth and his DEWALT Benefitting Wounded Warrior Project Toyota earned the eighth starting spot for the 70-lap event. Despite a car that showed promise during the first 20-lap Stage of the race, Kenseth’s night ended early when the team discovered that debris had damaged the oil cooler. He was scored with a 20th-place finish in Saturday’s event as a result.
Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race was broken down into four segments: 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, and 10 lap. Teams were also given a pair of softer Goodyear Racing tires that they could use at any Stage of the race, but if teams saved them for the final 10-lap segment, they had to start at the rear of the field. Kenseth and his DEWALT Benefitting Wounded Warrior Project Toyota started from eighth and moved into sixth on the opening five laps.
Kenseth told crew chief Jason Ratcliff on lap eight that the No. 20 was “tight mainly in the center, but a little on exit as well.” Just a few laps later however, the car had started to free up in the entry as the run went on Kenseth told his team. Stage 1 came to an end following lap 20, as teams prepared to hit pit road for service.
Ratcliff called his driver in for service under the yellow flag, but as Kenseth brought the DEWALT Camry into the team’s pit stall, smoke had started to emerge from the front of the car. Unsure if there was a problem at the time, the pit crew serviced the car with four tires and adjustments, but as Kenseth was exiting pit road, the smoke continued and the team noticed liquid in their stall. Ratcliff called his driver back down pit road as the team popped the hood on the No. 20 machine, and after further evaluation, the team was forced to head to the garage. Debris had damaged the oil cooler and Kenseth’s shot at a second All-Star Race title, went up in smoke Saturday night.
Kenseth’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch, drove off with the million dollar pay check in Saturday’s All-Star Race earning his first career all-star win. Kyle Larson finished second and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-three. Kenseth finished 20th in the non-points event as the series returns to points racing next weekend with the longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600.
Kenseth's Post-Race Thoughts:
How disappointing is it to be out of the All-Star race?
“It’s pretty disappointing. I thought like tonight, even though we only ran 20 laps, our performance was better. As we made a couple of passes I thought we were keeping pretty good speed, beating everybody except for the leader right there. It was encouraging. I felt like we were going to run better but it’s just kind of the way the year’s going. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Just got to ride it out until it turns.”
What happened during that pit stop after Stage 1?
“I got a hole in my oil cooler somehow. When I came to pit road, something must have hit the oil cooler or something happened there and it just got a hole in it and started smoking.”