Home » HEADLINE, NASCAR - Sprint Cup Series

Kenseth Wins After Busch Fades At Darlington

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 11 2013

Matt Kenseth won Saturday night's Sprint Cup race in Darlington. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

Matt Kenseth passed Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch for the lead with 13 laps to go and from there, went on to win Saturday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Busch had dominated the race up to the pass by Kenseth but over the final laps, his No. 18 Toyota began losing speed. Busch finished a in the sixth position after leading 265 of the 367 laps in the race.

After the race, Busch’s crew chief, Dave Rogers, said that Busch’s car was suffering from a deflating tire over the final laps.

The victory was the third of the season for Kenseth. It was his first ever at Darlington.

“Honestly, I’ve only dreamed about winning the Southern 500,” Kenseth, who notched the 27th victory of his career, said. “This to me probably feels bigger than any win in my career. I really feel bad that Jason isn’t here. This is obviously his team and his effort, but Wally did a great job filling in.

“We had a fifth- or sixth-place car, fighting loose, (and) those last two adjustments (on pit road) were just awesome.”

Denny Hamlin,  the third JGR drive, came on to finish second in his first full race back from a spinal injury.

Hamlin said he felt good after the race.

“I’m sore and I’m tired,” he aid. “But, you know, it just takes a while. Really it’s like starting your season over with. To start it back over at Darlington for 500 miles, I mean, there’s some muscles that have gotten weak. I’ve gotten pretty sore and tired, mentally tired as well. We’ll have a couple weeks really to rest until the next long event and we’ll be good to go then.”

Third was Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports, who was making his 700th Cup start. His teammate, JimmieJohnson, finished fourth while Kevin Harvick was fifth.

Carl Edwards finished seventh while Juan Pablo Montoya was eighth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ninth and Ryan Newman 10th.

The victory was the third of the season for Kenseth. It was his first ever at Darlington.

Trouble again bubbled up between Busch and Kasey Kahne. Kahne briefly took the lead  from Busch after a restart on Lap 333, but a lap later, Busch moved up the track toward Kahne’s left rear fender. It did not appear that the two cars touched but Kahne car wiggled and the slapped the wall.

After the race, he blamed Busch for the wreck.

“I think he just made another mistake,” Kahne said of Busch. “That is his third one when he has been around me this year. I don’t really understand it.”

A week ago at Talladega, Busch bumped Kahne from behind and results was a huge wreck.

Busch left the track without talking to reporters. Hamlin, however, talked about Busch.

“Yeah, he definitely won’t be happy, that’s for sure,” Hamlin said of his teammate. “But it’s tough when you have a car that was as dominant as his, then the last run whatever happens happens. But it’s part of the game of racing. I mean, I know that I don’t run as hard for the first 400 miles as I did the last 100. It’s once you get track position, you never know what your car can do.

“The 20 (Kenseth) didn’t look like he had a winning car all race long until he got the track position, then he took off. Whether it was holding back and saving, whatever he was doing, he found an extra gear in the last run. It is always tough when it’s a team car that overtakes you at the end. It’s always more difficult.”

Four-time Cup champion Gordon talked about his 700th start, saying “We’ve known for sometime that this should be where it should happen. I thought that was very cool. I think, looking back throughout my career, this track has been one of the best for me, a very special place. Holds so much history for this sport. To have the seven wins here that I have, I couldn’t think of a better place to come to and get the 700th starthere. Then to go out there and have a strong performance, it felt great.

“I wanted the 700th to be a memorable one, and I’m glad it wasn’t like last year’s memory where we blew two left rear tires back-to-back. This was much better than that. Top three, that’s fantastic. I mean, we needed this kind of performance, a gutsy performance, for the points as well as to make this one memorable.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Bojangles’ Southern 500

Darlington Raceway

1. (7) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 367, $309666.

2. (6) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 367, $211465.

3. (8) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 367, $200026.

4. (2) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 367, $178876.

5. (10) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 367, $165976.

6. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 367, $169323.

7. (17) Carl Edwards, Ford, 367, $142065.

8. (12) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 367, $131429.

9. (16) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 367, $115265.

10. (21) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 367, $140423.

11. (13) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 367, $137188.

12. (5) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 367, $130205.

13. (9) Greg Biffle, Ford, 367, $111505.

14. (1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 367, $122975.

15. (20) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 367, $139855.

16. (25) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 367, $121375.

17. (4) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 367, $108230.

18. (14) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #, Ford, 366, $139741.

19. (15) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 366, $122871.

20. (18) Aric Almirola, Ford, 366, $130141.

21. (11) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 365, $99205.

22. (30) Joey Logano, Ford, 365, $118388.

23. (28) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 364, $115863.

24. (27) Regan Smith(i), Chevrolet, 363, $113063.

25. (22) Mark Martin, Toyota, 363, $96755.

26. (23) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 363, $109588.

27. (37) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 362, $98388.

28. (40) Danica Patrick #, Chevrolet, 362, $82980.

29. (29) David Gilliland, Ford, 362, $95327.

30. (32) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 360, $87105.

31. (43) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, 359, $82330.

32. (26) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 358, $135596.

33. (41) Timmy Hill #, Ford, 358, $84480.

34. (24) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 358, $109069.

35. (42) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 354, $81605.

36. (33) David Reutimann, Toyota, Accident, 327, $81480.

37. (19) Casey Mears, Ford, Accident, 327, $89289.

38. (34) Josh Wise(i), Ford, Accident, 326, $75685.

39. (31) David Ragan, Ford, Engine, 318, $79685.

40. (39) David Stremme, Toyota, Engine, 230, $67685.

41. (36) Scott Speed, Ford, Brakes, 77, $63685.

42. (35) Michael McDowell, Ford, Brakes, 58, $59685.

43. (38) Mike Bliss(i), Toyota, Overheating, 18, $56185.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  141.383 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 32 Mins, 45 Secs. Margin of Victory:  3.155 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 25 laps.

Lead Changes:  9 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   Kurt Busch 1-51; Kyle Busch 52-53; M. Kenseth 54-55; Kurt Busch 56-73; Kyle Busch 74-105; M. Kenseth 106-107; Kyle Busch 108-185; J. Gordon 186-201; Kyle Busch 202-354; M. Kenseth 355-367.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 4 times for 265 laps; Kurt Busch 2 times for 69 laps; M. Kenseth 3 times for 17 laps; J. Gordon 1 time for 16 laps.

Top 12 in Points: J. Johnson – 423; C. Edwards – 379; M. Kenseth – 364; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 359; C. Bowyer – 349; K. Kahne – 326; Brad Keselowski – 326; Kyle Busch – 325; A. Almirola – 317; K. Harvick – 315; P. Menard – 315; J. Gordon – 311.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 11 2013
No Comment

Comments are closed.