Until the final few laps of the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500, Matt Kenseth was not a factor to challenge the likes of Kevin Harvick, who led a dominating 292 laps, or even the ultimate winner Brad Keselowski. The No. 20 DeWalt Flexvolt Toyota driver failed to pick up any stage points or lead laps but in the closing moments of the 325-lap race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kenseth had made a move.
A total of 13 speeding penalties plagued the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field, Kenseth being one of the recipients. "Our DEWALT Camry was fast," he said after the race. "We just sped there on pit road some – all our lights were right so I don’t know. Something happened there and it got us behind."
Kenseth continued to have pit road issues but he was still on the way to a rebound. "We were trying to get caught up and it happened again," he said. "We just had to forget about our indications, go real slow down pit road and finally came back from it all."
"Everybody’s got the (pit road) map but I don’t know what happened there because I was plenty safe from how we set everything, which is the same as last year," Kenseth explained of the many speeding issues he and his fellow drivers faced. "I was plenty safe when we (No. 20 team) got caught and when we went out the second time, I was still playing it safe and we got caught again leaving under that yellow. There was something that just didn’t jive to our calculations for whatever reason."
When Harvick’s chances grew dim with a pit road penalty in the final few laps, Kenseth was ready to pounce but had a little trouble on the ensuing restart. "We were going to line up third," Kenseth explained. "I was like ‘Man, I don’t think anybody is going to beat Kevin (Harvick). He led all day but we might at least have a shot,’ but I ended up second and those first two guys (Keselowski and Kyle Larson) cleared me and I just couldn’t get around them in that many laps."
At the end of the day, despite the penalties, Kenseth was pleased with the comeback but it was not easy. "It was an uphill battle all day," he said. "It took all day to get our laps back and get back into position but we had a good car and are glad we got a decent result."