Matt Kenseth was a man of few words during his first Cup start of 2018.
When he did speak up over his team’s radio, he didn’t have many good things to say about Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Ford.
On Lap 18, the chassis was “too tight.”
Three laps later, it was “pretty much undrivable.”
After the completion of the first stage, which Kenseth finished in 25th, one lap down, there was “something major fundamentally wrong.”
It never got better, as the 2003 Cup champion was eliminated in a seven-car wreck 13 laps from the finish.
Kenseth’s first Cup start since November ended with him stuck in the infield grass and a 36th-place finish.
“Freaking four laps down and we wreck, you’ve got to be (expletive) me,” Kenseth said on his radio.
“I don’t have any idea what happened with the wreck,” Kenseth later said after getting out of the car. “I just saw everybody wrecking and the track was kind of blocked, so I tried to get down towards the grass. This grass is not the new friendly grass, with the rain and all it just kind of dug in and then I just hit the car in front of me.”
It was end of a very rough debut for Kenseth, who will split time in Roush Fenway Raicng’s No. 6 Ford the rest of the year with Trevor Bayne. He will compete in the next four races, including next weekend’s All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Earlier this week, Kenseth told NASCAR America he hoped for a smooth Friday that would transition into Saturday.
On Friday, Kenseth missed out on a large chunk of practice time as his team struggled to get the car through inspection. Hours later, Kenseth was among six drivers left unable to make qualifying attempts when their cars didn’t get through inspection before the end of Round 1.
Kenseth started the race in 35th.
His result was his worst finish since his last visit to Kansas in the fall, when he placed 37th after a wreck and was eliminated from playoff contention.
“I expected us to be a little more competitive than that, so it was a really tough weekend all around,” Kenseth said. “We obviously have some work to do. The good news is it’s got to get better.”