Sunday Notebook: Engine woes plague Kenseth at DoverSolid run for Earnhardt
By: By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
DOVER, Del. -- Matt Kenseth was the class of the field in Sunday's FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway -- but only for 159 laps.
Kenseth fell victim to a failed valve train in his engine. He led 29 laps at Dover before exiting the race on lap 159 due to the engine problem, finishing 40th.
"I've had great cars all year," Kenseth lamented. "I really feel like JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) has three of the strongest race teams and the best cars in the garage. You have to be able to finish these races to win, and you have to be able to finish races to try to win championships. Hopefully, we'll have it all figured out before September."
Kenseth was certain he hadn't abused his engine at Dover.
"There's nothing I can do about it," Kenseth said. "I can't do anything from a preparation standpoint, from a driving standpoint. I mean, I can't be any easier on it than I've been on it, so something is wrong. It's not driver-induced, it's not too many miles in practice -- it's nothing like that. Something wrong with a part and it broke."
SOLID RUN FOR EARNHARDT
All but lost in the flap over the penalty that cost Jimmie Johnson a probable victory was a 10th-place finish that kept Dale Earnhardt Jr. sixth in the Sprint Cup standings.
Earnhardt might well have done better than 10th, but he could never gain the track positions necessary to take advantage of an improving car.
We made our car better," Earnhardt said. "I felt like we had a real strong car the last half of the race. We just couldn't get track position, couldn't pass. We were faster than the guys in front of us at the end, but just couldn't pass."