NASCAR Champion Matt Kenseth led the field to green in the 2018 All-Star Race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway but came home 14th after the 80-lap shootout.
“It was a tough race for us,” Kenseth said. “We were too tight and just didn’t have the speed to keep up with the good cars. We were just off the whole time; I worked as hard as I could at it to salvage a decent finish, best we could do.”
Sporting a throwback scheme to Mark Martin’s No. 6 car from his 1998 All-Star win, Kenseth rolled off the grid first after earning the pole on Friday thanks to an all-star stop from the pit crew. Kenseth and teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the all Roush Fenway front row to green, setting the stage for his 18th consecutive All-Star event.
After battling a tight-handling machine during stage one, Kenseth was scored in the 20th position when the green-checkered waved on lap 30. After a stellar performance during Friday night’s unique qualifying session, crew chief Matt Puccia and the No. 6 team went to work on the Do You Know Jack Ford.
With another swing before the start of stage three, Kenseth rolled off in the 17th position and was jockeying for position before a multi-car accident occurred in front of the No. 6 Ford causing right front damage. After a series of stops to repair the damage, the Roush Fenway Racing driver settled with a 15th-place finish.
After a late-stage caution in the final 10-lap stage, Kenseth was able to gain one more spot despite the damage to his Ford to earn a 14th-place finish.