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Cup Notes: Kenseth Grouses About Roush’s Cars

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 9 2010

Matt Kenseth found himself on the outside without a way back inside at Martinsville earlier this season. Kenseth did not sound very optimistic about the way his cars are running on Friday. (File photo courtesy of NASCAR)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

Joliet, Ill. – The frustration of a winless season was etched on Matt Kenseth’s face Friday afternoon as he fielded multiple questions about performance-related issues at Roush Fenway Racing.

But Kenseth reached his boiling point when asked what team owner Jack Roush tells him when the 2003 Sprint Cup champion quizzes him about the four-car organization’s weekly struggles.

“I think if  Jack had the answer, he’d probably fix it,” said Kenseth, who is seventh in the Sprint Cup point standings but searching for his first victory since a win at Auto Club Speedway in California in Feb. 2009.

“We all have ideas and theories and whatever. The people running the place don’t like mine, so we’ll just keep going the way we are going and hope it gets better.”

Kenseth’s teammate, Carl Edwards, has led just two laps this season and last tasted victory during the 2008 finale in Homestead, Fla.

Edwards hopes the upcoming off-weekend will allow his team to recharge their batteries prior to the start of the stretch run that begins in Indianapolis on July 25.

“In a way, I think it gives the guys a much-needed break mentally as well,” Edwards said. “I don’t think they need to work any harder. They are working as hard as they can.

“I bumped into one of my crew members who was excited about taking his family on a little vacation next weekend. I think our guys need that. They need to be able to walk away and come back and look at things a little differently.

“I think that is really important.”

Danica Returns: Five days after competing in Sunday’s Indy Car Series event in Watkins Glen, N.Y., part-time NASCAR driver Danica Patrick was back behind the wheel of a Nationwide Series car at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday.

Patrick’s most-recent start in NASCAR’s junior circuit two weeks ago resulted in a 30th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and featured a dustup with veteran Morgan Shepherd during the opening laps.

“I didn’t talk to him (following the race),” Patrick said. “I heard he came down (to talk). I don’t think he meant to (slide into me).

“I think that the cars just slide around a lot, especially when you’re talking about a short oval where you’re sliding up the track even more.”

Patrick showed her frustration with Shepherd by bumping his No. 89 twice later in the event. But she was in a forgiving mood on Friday.

“I’m not mad. It’s just unfortunate that it happened.”

Burton getting close: When Jeff Burton met the media Friday morning at the 1.5-mile oval, the 43-year-old driver could have easily been in the midst of a two-race winning streak in the Cup Series.

But the decision not to pit in New Hampshire two weeks ago while leading and getting shuffled late in the going at Daytona last weekend left Burton riding a 59-race winless streak entering Saturday night’s Lifelock 400.

“It’s been disappointing,” said Burton, who is eighth in the championship standings. “Last week was disappointing. I thought after Kyle (Busch) went out, I thought we were the best car and we didn’t win.

“At New Hampshire, we were the best car and we didn’t win. One didn’t have anything to do with the other.

“We didn’t not win Daytona because we didn’t win New Hampshire. They had nothing to do with each other. Each one was a separate incident and each one had a separate cause. We just have to focus on what we’re doing and look at how to be better. That’s all there is to it.”

Big decision: Patrick was non-committal on Friday when asked if she plans to eventually shift her focus entirely to Indy Cars or NASCAR.

Former Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch thinks there’s a chance the popular female driver will follow NBA star Lebron James lead when it comes time to announcing her decision.

“She’ll probably have a one-hour ESPN primetime special when she wants to announce it,” Busch said with a sly grin.

Harvick on pole: Kevin Harvick toured Chicagoland Speedway at 177.696 mph in Nationwide Series qualifying Friday afternoon to capture the pole for Friday night’s Dollar General 300 powered by Coca-Cola.

Points leader Brad Keselowski will start second, just ahead of Trevor Bayne, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano.

Patrick will start 28th in the 200 lap event.

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 9 2010