Kenseth Chases Down The Victory At Charlotte
Matt Kenseth passed Kyle Busch for the lead with 25 laps to go, survived a restart with 12 laps to go and went on to win Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Kenseth, who started the race fifth in points, jumped up to third with the victory. He will head to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend for race No. 6 of the 10-race Chase seven points out of the lead.
The victory was the third of the season for Kenseth.
Busch, who had to start from the rear of the field because of an engine change, led a race-bet 110 laps finished second. He jumped from eighth to fourth in points.
“We certainly started pretty deep in the field and made our way up there slowly and steadily, but it was really tough to pass and make up ground here,” Busch said. “You had to be creative. You had to work your way up and work your way past guys. But I don’t think we made a change to the car all night; we just let the race play out. Lo and behold, we thought we were gonna win one, and then you get down to all these late restarts and give it away, so we finished second.
“We’ve kind of set out that we need to start finishing where we run during the race. Tonight, we certainly
ran well. We drove up through the field and got in position to win the race and was leading much of the end there and just got outdrove by Kenseth there on the restart. He just flat out drove right past me like I was standing still. The frustration is we didn’t finish where we wanted to, which could have been a win, could have been a real highlight. The next frustration is we have yet to win a Chase race.”
Carl Edwards, the points leader, finished third and will head to Talladega with a five-point lead over second-place Kevin Harvick.
“Overall, a really great night for us,” Edwards said. “Just a good race. A lot better finish than I thought we were gonna have. So I’m happy with it.”
Kasey Kahne finished fourth.
Marcos Ambrose was fifth Saturday and Harvick sixth.
A.J. Allmendinger was seventh and Tony Stewart, who led 94 laps, was eighth.
Chasers Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman rounded out the top 10 at Charlotte.
The race took a toll on several Chase drivers.
Both Jimmie Johnson, who was third in points when the race started, and Jeff Gordon wrecked.
Johnson’s wreck came with 17 laps to go and while he was running eighth. He lost control and
slammed hard into the wall head-on. He could not continue.
“That one stung, for sure,” Johnson, who dropped to eighth in points, said. Physically and championship-wise as he left Charlotte 35 points behind Edwards.
Gordon wrecked with 42 laps to go. He was able to continue but was knocked off the lead lap.
Brad Keselowski, fourth in points when the race started, just had a bad night and finished off the lead lap in 16th place.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. also was slow at Charlotte and finished 19th.
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