Matt Kenseth would like to regain Texas mojo

Matt Kenseth on track during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Matt Kenseth on track during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.

FORT WORTH, Tex. – Matt Kenseth has an excellent history at Texas Motor Speedway.

Unfortunately, it’s not recent history.

“Ironically, Texas is one of those places, that when I was at Roush, it was probably my best track,” Kenseth said on Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with reporters at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “Even in years when we didn’t run good at other places, we always ran good there.

“I won a couple of times and was in position to win a couple other times and got beat late.”

In fact, before Kenseth left Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the 2012 season, he had two victories and four second-place finishes to his credit at the 1.5-mile speedway.

But his last two results in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota are 25th and 23rd.

“Since we’ve been over here (JGR), it’s been a struggle for me for some reason,” Kenseth said. “We haven’t really run very well the last three years there. So I’m looking forward to going back and seeing if we can make that better.

“We’ve qualified really well and have had really good speed, but the races haven’t turned out well there. I’m looking forward to getting there and getting to work to see if we can find something that’s good on long runs but still fires off pretty fast.”

True to his word, Kenseth rocketed to the top of the speed chart in qualifying trim during Thursday’s opening Cup practice, but he didn’t stay there. Drivers running later in the session leap-frogged Kenseth’s No. 20, which ended up 11th.

SHORT STROKES

Late in opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, Martin Truex Jr. vaulted to the top of the speed chart with a lap at 192.892 mph, edging the Team Penske Fords of Brad Keselowski (192.164 mph) and Joey Logano (192.143 mph). Interestingly, Truex was the only Toyota driver in the top 10…

Roush Fenway Racing has signed Virginia driver Gray Gaulding, 18, to a developmental deal, the team announced on Thursday. Gaulding will make his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut for RFR on Aug. 19 at Bristol. He’ll also compete at Richmond in September.

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