Matt Kenseth battled back from an early pit road penalty and survived a set of late race cautions, driving his No. 6 Roush Performance Products Ford Fusion to an 18th-place finish Sunday afternoon at Pocono.
“We were definitely better than the spring race when we couldn’t even stay on the lead lap,” Kenseth said. “This time we had a pit road problem, sped and lost a lot of track position. I thought we ran better we were just really weak on restarts and would lose a lot of spots. In today’s day in age of racing it is a huge disadvantage because you just can’t get those spots back. I felt we took a step up in performance, not where we need to be yet but still a step up. The stat sheet doesn’t show it but it is a step in the right direction.”
Kenseth rolled off the grid 11th after 13 cars failed post-qualifying tech on Saturday. He reported early on tight-handling conditions in his Fusion, before the field cycled through for green flag stops. Kenseth was penalized for speeding, forcing a pass through penalty which set he and the team back.
After finishing 27th to end stage one, Kenseth would take the wave around before pitting again just a few laps into the second segment. Following that cycle of stops, Kenseth found himself 24th at the time of the first natural caution of the 160-lap event. The Cambridge, Wisconsin, would restart 23rd before finishing nine spots better to end the stage 14th.
The 2003 NASCAR Cup Champion restarted the final stage in 18th and fell back a few spots by lap 125, but fought his way back into the top-20. A series of late-race cautions would extend the race, before Kenseth crossed the line 18th.
Kenseth returns to the track in the No. 6 next weekend at Watkins Glen. Race coverage begins Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, and SiriusXM Channel 90.
RFR PR/Photo Credit Chris Trotman/Getty Images