Matt Kenseth missed the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the first time in his career, but at least he found a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

Repeatedly picking up positions on pit road and on restarts, Kenseth ran third in the AAA 400, his best finish since winning at Fontana in February. Given that the performance of his Roush Fenway Racing organisation hasn't been up to speed this season, Kenseth found reason to be encouraged.

"It wasn't a big surprise to me we missed the Chase," Kenseth said. "I saw it coming for three months. We haven't been performing. The whole company hasn't been performing the way it needs to to win a championship. And that's not being negative or anything. It's just obvious. Everybody can see that.

"So it shouldn't really be a surprise, really. You know, where they're at, considering the results we've had all year. You don't just turn it around overnight. So everybody at Roush Fenway is working really hard to get the cars better, be competitive. We got behind a little, and we're working hard to get that back.

"So I'd like to say it's a step in the right direction. We had really good pit stops. Our car was reasonable - it wasn't blazing fast - and we were able to get a good finish."

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News

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