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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Matt Kenseth settling in with Gibbs team, but reliability still an issue for Toyotas

Kyle Busch said he is excited to see what former Cup champion Kenseth can bring to the Joe Gibbs Racing team to help get them back to championship contender status.

"He's (Matt Kenseth) a great competitor and obviously a champion, although I do remind him that he won a championship in '03 and not in the current Chase era.  He's got the notoriety of a multi-Daytona 500 winner and he's a really cool dude. He's very down to earth.  He's very well-respected with Denny (Hamlin) and myself.  I've never had a spat with Matt on the race track never being his teammate before.  It's pretty cool to now have the chance to work with him and really get to know how Kenseth goes about things and what he can bring to the table at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing)."

Kenseth said his switch came at an opportune time, with the new Gen 6 car being unveiled

"I think the car looks great, so far it's going really good with me making the team switch at the same time, because everyone is sort of starting over in a way.  I like the car and am anxious to see it on the race track in competition.  Really anxious to see it at Phoenix and Vegas and what they run like there."

One thing that's clear to me though, after Daytona, is that reliability issues are already cropping up for the Toyotas. Equipment failures like Kenseth and Busch suffered at Daytona can't be allowed to keep happening, or their chances at a title run will be doomed. This is very important that they nip it in the bud before it becomes a serial problem, or they will be on the outside looking in come Chase time.

Roush Fenway notes

— Greg Biffle led the Roush Fenway effort in Sunday’s Daytona 500. For the third time during Speedweeks, Biffle came to the white flag in second position, but was unable to get around the race leader for the win.
(on the opposite end of the spectrum, Carl Edwards wrecked so many cars at Daytona I lost count; He's probably more eager to get to Phoenix than anyone else and put that behind him)

— Phoenix notes for Roush Fenway
Roush Fenway has started 222 combined NASCAR races at PIR, collecting 16 wins (6 NSCS, 8 NNS, 2 CWTS), 71 top fives and 119 top 10s, while leading 3,822 laps.

Roush Fenway has won at Phoenix in all three of NASCAR’s major divisions, with the first win coming in 1993. The team won the second-ever Nationwide race at PIR in 2000, and has won 4 of the last 7 Nationwide events at PIR. Greg Biffle claimed Roush Fenway’s 100th overall Nationwide win at Phoenix in 2009 and Carl Edwards won there that fall to give Roush Fenway the sweep. Six drivers have won NASCAR races for Roush Fenway at PIR. In addition, Carl Edwards swept Phoenix in the fall of 2010, winning both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races.

Roush Fenway has started 124 Sprint Cup races at Phoenix, while finishing inside the top 10 with almost 50 percent of the entries (54). In addition, Roush Fenway cars have led 2,091 laps and driven to victory lane on six occasions.


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