Kenseth Hopeful Of Rebound

Matt Kenseth's performance in last Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway has the veteran feeling better about this week's return trip to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600.

Kenseth has tumbled to 22nd in the Sprint Cup Series point standings and has struggled over the last month of the season.

But his finish in last Saturday night's non-points race could be just the tonic to propel the 2003 series champion to a stretch drive up the standings.

"I’m just happy to run that good,” Kenseth said Saturday night. “For us it was almost like a test and it was a good morale booster, I think, for the team and a big confidence booster. We haven’t really been running very good this year and when we have run good, we’ve had a lot of problems."

“We were kind of back, I thought anyway, back in form a little bit. We were pretty competitive at times. Sometimes we were a little behind the 99 [teammate Carl Edwards], sometimes we were a little behind the 16 [Greg Biffle] and a couple of other guys, but, overall, I thought we had a pretty good car."

While impressed with his performance in the 100-lap all-star event, Kenseth knows how different things will be for this Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.

“If it runs solid like that for 600 miles, I think we’ll have a car that can be a contender, and that’s something I haven’t felt like for a while," he said.

He comes into Sunday's race 153 points out of the current 12th and final Chase spot. A good run Sunday is pivotal in terms of Kenseth's hope of putting together a rally to make the post-season like he did in 2005.

“The year when we came back, we got on a roll and we were running really good,” Kenseth said. “We won a couple races and we were just running awesome at the time. We had a ton of momentum going, even though we got so far behind at the beginning of the year."

“This year, up to this point, it hasn’t been like that. We’ve been behind and it’s like, ‘OK, you can make up those points,’ but to make up those points you’ve got to be running good. You’ve got to be running better than all the guys in front of you and not have trouble, and we haven’t run better than any of those guys and we have not had trouble, so we’ve got to get running."

“If we can run like we ran tonight and even how we ran at Darlington – we had a top-three or top-four car there probably and finished sixth because we were saving gas. If we can have the cars drive like they did the last two weeks, I think we can get back in it.”

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