Solid Results for Debut Outings

Matt Kenseth

Matt Kenseth made his debut with the Joe Gibbs Racing team and wheeled the Dollar General/Home Depot Toyota home fifth. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

A pair of drivers made their first outings with new teams during Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.

Both Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth kicked off the next phase of their NASCAR careers with top five finishes.

Logano took the wheel of the Shell/Pennzoil Ford for Saturday night’s annual exhibition race and ran near the front of the field for most of the 75-lap affair.

He took the checkered flag third behind race winner Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle.

“I thought it went pretty smooth,” said Logano. “This Sprint Unlimited race was huge for our team to get a race under our belts. I had a new spotter up there and for me and Todd Gordon to work together a lot of big things can come out of this race. I think of it as a pre-season football game or a pre-season race where you can figure things out. We did that.”

Logano cited the night’s cool temperatures as the reason cars had so much grip on Saturday night. But he doesn’t expect that to stick around as the week wears on.

“Tonight really is the most grip we are going to have,” he said. “It was the most we are going to get. It is really cool out and anything from there is going to get warmer and we will be racing in the daytime. Grip will go away and handling will be more of a factor, which I think is a good thing. We will see what happens. I had to catch it a few times and I am sure a lot of guys did too."

Kenseth made his debut with the Joe Gibbs Racing team and wheeled the Dollar General/Home Depot Toyota home fifth. Kenseth had one of the fastest cars of the night and was singled out by Harvick as the biggest threat to steal the win.

“When we were two-by-two I thought we could make it happen, but as soon as it got three-wide it just stalled the bottom out,” said Kenseth. “I felt really great about our car, really great about our speed -- I wish I was standing down there in victory lane, but overall it was a good night for us."

Kenseth agreed like most in Saturday night’s field there was much learned during the race but also believes changing conditions ahead this week will present a challenge.

“I think we learned a lot, but I still think it's going to be a different race on Thursday,” said Kenseth. “It's going to be warmer and there's going to be more cars on the track -- I think Sunday will be a different race again when we get 43 of them out there."

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