Matt Kenseth's Bid for Three Busted at Shelby 427

Dylan McKeeContributor IMarch 2, 2009

A question on many people's minds heading into this year's Shelby 427 was whether or not Matt Kenseth could become the first driver in NASCAR history to win the first three races of the season.

Wisconsin born Kenseth had the perfect start to his 2009 season, winning his first ever Daytona 500 in a rain shortened race, and pulling off victory in California at Auto Club Speedway to become the first driver to win the opening two races of the season since Jeff Gordon did so in 1997.

Despite the media hype, and Kenseth's previous triumphs at Las Vegas however, engine failure was to deny him the chance of making NASCAR history.

A poor qualifying run saw Kenseth start at the back of the pack, and he only qualified for the race on owners provisional. During the pace laps leading up to the start of the race, Kenseth could feel a problem in the No. 17's engine, and before he could complete his seventh lap, the engine gave way.

Kenseth was forced to take his car to the garage and retire from the event, finishing dead last. 

Despite the hype leading up to the race, Kenseth said that winning a third straight race was not the biggest thing on the teams agenda, and that he was more disappointed by the wasted weekend.

"Winning the third race—seriously—was the farthest thing from my mind. We approach it one race at a time, and I'm very, very thankful for the first two weeks of the season that we had, and for the opportunity to drive this car. 

"You're going to break stuff once in a while. I think it's the first engine we broke in two years. It's bound to happen sooner or later. We didn't even really get to race today, and we qualified bad, so it was a pretty long weekend for nothing."

The poor result see's Kenseth bumped back from first place in the points standings, however you get the feeling that this will not be the last we will be hearing from him this season. 

Despite winning a championship in 2003, Kenseth has never seemed to get as much attention as some of NASCAR's poster boys, but after his impressive start to the season the press will be looking for big things from him.

If he keeps his head down and shows his well known consistency this year, there is every chance that it could be a season of highs for the 17.