Kenseth Rolls Into Vegas

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Despite winning three races in a row, Jimmie Johnson doesn't count Las Vegas Motor Speedway as one of his favorites.

Not so Matt Kenseth.

Kenseth is a two-time LVMS winner and counts the 1.5-mile speedway as one he looks forward to racing at every year.

“I’ve always enjoyed racing at Las Vegas," Kenseth said. "It’s a cool place to visit and the track is a top-notch facility. I thought it was fine before they reconfigured it and we ran pretty good out there on the old configuration. Now, the track has a ton of grip with the new surface, and the high-banked corners make it extremely fast."

The new NASCAR Sprint Cup car has proven to be an unknwon entity at Las Vegas, despite a testing session back in January.

Kenseth qualified 13th for Sunday's race and was in the top five during Saturday's practice session, but he is still a bit confused on just how the car will react in a 400 mile race.

"The conditions have changed so much between the test in January and this weekend, I think we're all going to be looking to work on the set-up as the race goes on to get the cars to work as best as possible," Kenseth said.

Crew chief Chip Bolin believes the tire situation will also be a key in Sunday's race.

“When we did the Goodyear tire test at Vegas in December we were happy with the car, but not ecstatic," Bolin said. "At the open test in February, Goodyear brought a harder tire, and we were lacking overall grip, and struggling to get through the bumps down into turn one. Hopefully we’re better this weekend than we were when we tested."

Kenseth's Cup record at Las Vegas is impressive with a pair of wins in his eight starts and four top five finishes, including one in the 2007 edition of the race.

“We had a good finish there last season," he said. "Even though our car wasn’t that great, the guys on pit road kept gaining positions for us and we were able to get a really good finish out of it, much like they did at California. We probably had a fifth to 10th-place car, but because our pit crew did such a good job we were able to finish fifth."

Kenseth is hoping a good run Sunday will take the pressure off his pit crew a bit.

"Last year in Vegas we didn’t have near a fourth-place car, but because we had so many pit stops with the reduced fuel cell that we ran out there, our pit crew was able to pick up three or four positions every time and we were able to get the track position at the end and finish fourth," he said. "Hopefully, we can get the cars performing at the same level as our pit crew and we should be able to contend for some wins."

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