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Kenseth Goes Back To Back At Kansas Speedway

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 21 2013

Matt Kenseth got his second victory of the season Sunday as he won the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Matt Kenseth made it two straight at Kansas Speedway as he took the lead coming out of the pits with 43 laps to go, held it the rest of the way and won the STP 400 Sprint Cup race on Sunday.

The victory for Kenseth, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver who won the Kansas race last fall while driving for Roush Fenway Racing, was his second of the season – his first came in the season-opening Daytona 500.

“This is just a dream come true to drive this stuff,” Kenseth said. “It’s just awesome.”

Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports finished second, just a car length back. On the last couple laps it looked like that Kahne just might finish a car length ahead.

“He’s finished second to me a couple times,” Kenseth said of Kahne. “Man, I really thought he had me and our car started getting loose into (Turn) 3 and I got really loose getting getting into 3 with about five to go. I actually did it twice in a row and thought we were going to get beat.”

Nope.

“We were very close at the end, battling with Matt,” Kahne said. “Felt like Vegas (where Kenseth held of Kahne earlier this year) all over again, just kind of felt like really similar to that in how I could catch him but couldn’t really do anything once I got close. It made my car a little bit looser. So I tried a few things there, and he kind of blocked those spots and went those directions and gained the speed that I (had), and then we were even again.”

Kayne’s teammate, Jimmie Johnson finished third while Ryan Truex Jr. of Michael Waltrip Racing was fourth.

“At times,” Johnson said, “I felt like I had a shot to win with my Kobalt Tools Chevrolet and we just didn’t have enough for Matt and Kasey there at the end, but a very solid performance for our Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS.”

Johnson stretched his points lead from nine points over Keselowski to 37 over Kahne.

Kansas native Clint Bowyer finished fifth.

Kenseth, the polesitter, led – virtually – unchallenged the first 100 green-flag laps. But on lap 103, Johnson moved in on Kenseth’s bumper.

But just as it appeared that the five-time champion was setting up a pass for the lead, Kyle Busch spun and backed into the wall. After bouncing after the wall, Busch’s car slid down the track and was slammed hard by former JGR teammate Joey Logano.

Just a case of very little grip, Busch, who won the Cup pole and race at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend, said.

“Car just snaps out from you every corner,” Busch said.

“I watched the 18,” Logano said of Busch. “He was spinning out and I saw it the whole time. I saw he got loose and thought, ‘OK, he’s gonna come back across,’ and he didn’t. It looked like he was gonna stay up there because he kind of slapped the wall with the right side after he hit it the first time, so I’m like, ‘All right, I’m gonna gun it and get by him here,’ and as soon as I committed to that I saw him start coming back down. At that point you’re just lined up to him and hit him a ton.”

Busch started the day in third in points. He ended it in street clothes well before the race ended.

While the leaders during the ensuing caution, four drivers did not. The first of the non-pitters was Truex Jr. and when the race restarted on lap 114, Truex became the first driver other than Kenseth to lead a green-flag lap.

Second was Jamie McMurray while Mark Martin was third and Brad Keselowski fourth when the race went green. On the restart lap, however, Martin bumped McMurray and Keselowski, who spent considerable time in his pit stall early in the race to fix damaged cause when he was rear ended during the first caution of the day, was second.

On lap 147 of the 267-lap race, Keselowski pitted and a lap later, he was followed by Truex.

That handed the lead to Johnson. One second behind him was Kenseth.

Seven laps later, and just a car length behind Johnson, Kenseth pitted. A lap later, Kenseth pitted.

When pitting cycle through, Truex, who was on a different pit cycle, had inherited the lead.

On lap 173, Brian Vickers spun the No. 11 JGR Toyota, and the race went under caution for the sixth time. Restarting P1 with 89 laps to go was Carl Edwards, who didn’t pit under yellow. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second.

Four laps later, a wreck involving Marcos Ambrose and Sam Hornish Jr. brought out the seventh caution of the day.

“I couldn’t see anything,” Hornish said. “I saw the back of the 34 or 38, I’m not sure which one it was, and then I saw the 9 sitting sideways right at the exit of the corner. I lifted and turned down, which made my hit to the inside wall harder because as soon as you lift and put all that weight up there it gives me enough turn to try to get away from the 9, but then I can’t get it back in the other direction.”

Missouri native Edwards restarted in P1 and Kansas native Clint Bowyer was second.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took his first lead of the day on lap 190 as he and Kenseth blew past Edwards.

With 51 laps to go, Stenhouse pitted for fuel. Also pitting were Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt several others.

But a lap later, the yellow flag waved and those that had pitted were forced to take a wave around and restarted the race from the rear of lead-lap field. Restarting with the lead and 43 laps to go, was Kenseth. Next to him was Truex Jr. while Johnson was third and Kasey Kahne fourth.

Kahne quickly moved to second. Over the final 15 laps he gained ground on Kenseth and moved to within a couple of car lengths. But, he never was able to make the pass.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – STP 400

Kansas Speedway

Kansas City, Kansas

Sunday, April 21, 2013

1. (1) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 267, $263816.

2. (27) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 267, $182085.

3. (21) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 267, $185021.

4. (7) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 267, $155985.

5. (10) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 267, $151018.

6. (33) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267, $156551.

7. (14) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 267, $131330.

8. (6) Aric Almirola, Ford, 267, $132671.

9. (8) Mark Martin, Toyota, 267, $102135.

10. (12) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 267, $124176.

11. (3) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #, Ford, 267, $139071.

12. (17) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 267, $133821.

13. (43) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 267, $131971.

14. (9) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 267, $121768.

15. (13) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 267, $112855.

16. (23) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 267, $100685.

17. (2) Carl Edwards, Ford, 267, $121510.

18. (20) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 267, $93485.

19. (11) Greg Biffle, Ford, 267, $99585.

20. (15) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 267, $113399.

21. (18) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 266, $127985.

22. (41) Regan Smith(i), Chevrolet, 266, $110568.

23. (28) David Gilliland, Ford, 266, $100268.

24. (34) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 266, $105943.

25. (25) Danica Patrick #, Chevrolet, 265, $80910.

26. (36) Josh Wise(i), Ford, 265, $83235.

27. (19) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 264, $110149.

28. (31) David Reutimann, Toyota, 263, $94293.

29. (39) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 263, $91982.

30. (26) David Ragan, Ford, 262, $91185.

31. (16) Brian Vickers(i), Toyota, 257, $98785.

32. (38) David Stremme, Toyota, 256, $78760.

33. (37) Timmy Hill #, Ford, 242, $78560.

34. (30) Casey Mears, Ford, Accident, 216, $86335.

35. (40) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, Accident, 210, $78140.

36. (32) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, Engine, 209, $85935.

37. (4) Sam Hornish, Jr.(i), Ford, Accident, 181, $77725.

38. (5) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 102, $117958.

39. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, Accident, 102, $96458.

40. (24) Elliott Sadler(i), Toyota, Accident, 85, $64550.

41. (35) Mike Bliss(i), Toyota, Brakes, 65, $60550.

42. (29) Michael McDowell, Ford, Vibration, 43, $56550.

43. (42) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, Accident, 36, $53050.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 133.611 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 59 Mins, 51 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.150 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 40 laps.

Lead Changes: 13 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: M. Kenseth 1-74; D. Stremme 75; M. Kenseth 76-111; M. Truex Jr. 112-146; J. Johnson 147-155; C. Edwards 156-159; D. Earnhardt Jr. 160; R. Stenhouse Jr. # 161; R. Newman 162-163; M. Truex Jr. 164-174; M. Kenseth 175; C. Edwards 176-190; R. Stenhouse Jr. # 191-215; M. Kenseth 216-267.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): M. Kenseth 4 times for 163 laps; M. Truex Jr. 2 times for 46 laps; R. Stenhouse Jr. # 2 times for 26 laps; C. Edwards 2 times for 19 laps; J. Johnson 1 time for 9 laps; R. Newman 1 time for 2 laps; D. Stremme 1 time for 1 lap; D. Earnhardt Jr. 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 12 in Points: J. Johnson – 311; K. Kahne – 274; Brad Keselowski – 273; G. Biffle – 264; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 263; C. Edwards – 262; Kyle Busch – 257; M. Kenseth – 252; C. Bowyer – 247; P. Menard – 240; J. Mcmurray – 227; K. Harvick – 224.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 21 2013
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