Matt Kenseth would like to see a fix to fuel-mileage races after he ran out of gas on the last lap of Monday's Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland, taking a hit to his chances of contending for this year's title.
The Roush Fenway racer led from pole the first portion of the rain-delayed event and was in contention for victory in the closing laps, where the leaders ran off the pace to try to save enough fuel to finish the race without pitting again.
Kenseth was set to secure at least a top-five finish but his tank ran empty on the last lap and he was then pushed by fellow Ford driver JJ Yeley so that he could cross the finish line. Although he was initially classified eighth, he was penalized for being assisted on the last lap and was demoted to 21st, a blow to his championship bid.
"I don't know what to do about the fuel mileage," said Kenseth. "It is really frustrating to be a race car driver and they drop the green on the last run of the day when you are supposed to put on a show for the fans and you have to run half throttle and can't floor it or you will run out of gas. It is pretty aggravating to do all the work and qualifying and pit stops and adjustments but none of it makes a difference."
He added: "It is not a great definition of racing, but how are you going to fix it? I don't know. It is frustrating. You do all that work and for nothing.
"There were so many races this year that have been like that already where the guy running half-throttle, or pitted off sequence or whatever and has won. I wish they could figure out how to fix it because it is not a lot of fun."
Kenseth was among a number of Chase contenders who ran out of fuel, others including reigning champion Jimmie Johnson, former Chase leader Kyle Busch, Hendrick's Jeff Gordon and Stewart-Haas' Ryan Newman. Johnson and Newman still managed a top-10 finish, but Busch and Gordon have lost ground in the title race after being classified 22nd and 24th, respectively.