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Kenseth Beats Back Kahne, Wins At Bristol

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, August 24 2013

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

Matt Kenseth broke out of a mini-slump Saturday night and won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The victory was the fifth of the season for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, but it gave him just his first top-12 finish in a month.

“I hope we’re back,” Kenseth, who led 149 of 500 laps, said.

To get the win, Kenseth had to overcome a pit road penalty, a shrinking fuel load and hold off Kasey Kahne – who several times pulled even with Kenseth in the late going and actually banged doors with Kenseth with 10 laps to go.

Kenseth’s car ran out of fuel after it crossed the finish line.

“I think Kasey (Kahne) was getting tired of battling me,” Kenseths said. “Kasey’s just an unbelievable talent – we’ve finished first-second a couple times this year. He wanted it bad. We raced as hard as we could race and used every inch of race track. I had just enough to hold it – just enough fuel and just enough tires. Really have to thank Dollar General and this whole team – so proud of this team behind me. Man, we won the Bristol night race — this is so awesome.”

This is the third time this season Kahne has finished second to Kenseth. The other two were Las Vegas and Kansas.

“I thought Matt did a good job of just running as hard as he could as close to the wall as possible,” Kahne said, ”which helped him a lot, and then I was just trying to gain speed. I had a better car. We were on the right strategy, and I just couldn’t clear him. There was a couple shots I took, and I had to have been close, but I could feel him on the right side of my car, and I just didn’t clear him.

“I didn’t figure out how to get by. It’s disappointing not to win here. I thought we had the best car the last 200 laps, and it was a lot of work. We didn’t start the best, but Kenny (Francis, his crew chief) made a lot of good calls, and our strategy was perfect at the end. It was a great night for us, good for the points and things, but yeah, I wish I could have figured out how to get by him.”

Hendrick Motorsports’ Kahne finished second, right on Kenseth’s rear bumper.

Juan Montoya finished third, Brian Vickers fourth and Joey Logano fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Paul Menard, Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Kenseth’s victory total and the bonus points that go with it will come in handy when the Chase starts two races from now.

“It’s this race team that’s won the races, not me,” Kenseth said when asked about his wins. “I’m just the lucky guy piloting it. Just so proud of this Dollar General team — they’ve done a spectacular job really all year. The last month-and-a-half we’ve been off a little on speed. I wasn’t real happy with our car yesterday and Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and the whole group at JGR got together and tried to tweak out what we need and what would be good in our cars to make them run. It was pretty right all night.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – IRWIN Tools Night Race

Bristol Motor Speedway

1. (5) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 500, $328466.

2. (7) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 500, $214815.

3. (16) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 500, $195329.

4. (4) Brian Vickers(i), Toyota, 500, $150315.

5. (6) Joey Logano, Ford, 500, $155973.

6. (21) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 500, $154031.

7. (32) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 500, $160901.

8. (14) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 500, $148679.

9. (29) Greg Biffle, Ford, 500, $127890.

10. (19) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 500, $130565.

11. (43) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500, $153513.

12. (17) David Ragan, Ford, 500, $136263.

13. (41) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 500, $117355.

14. (24) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 500, $147288.

15. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 499, $146041.

16. (39) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 499, $131138.

17. (38) David Stremme, Toyota, 498, $120488.

18. (27) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #, Ford, 497, $152341.

19. (20) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 497, $131475.

20. (11) Mark Martin, Chevrolet, 497, $149105.

21. (8) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 497, $137988.

22. (36) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 497, $114838.

23. (33) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 497, $99305.

24. (34) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 496, $101930.

25. (25) David Gilliland, Ford, 495, $111402.

26. (22) Danica Patrick #, Chevrolet, 493, $100280.

27. (35) Ken Schrader, Ford, 491, $99760.

28. (1) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 487, $122050.

29. (31) David Reutimann, Toyota, 483, $98640.

30. (12) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 478, $150946.

31. (2) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 476, $122740.

32. (40) Tony Raines(i), Chevrolet, 475, $95785.

33. (30) Casey Mears, Ford, 467, $103675.

34. (15) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 449, $142451.

35. (9) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 446, $127455.

36. (13) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 440, $144231.

37. (28) Josh Wise(i), Ford, 418, $95153.

38. (23) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 394, $97560.

39. (3) Carl Edwards, Ford, Engine, 387, $130435.

40. (42) Scott Speed, Ford, Brakes, 223, $81560.

41. (26) Michael McDowell, Ford, Engine, 175, $77560.

42. (18) Ryan Truex(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 39, $81560.

43. (37) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, Engine, 1, $70060.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 90.279 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 57 Mins, 07 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.188 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 11 for 74 laps.

Lead Changes: 16 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders: D. Hamlin 1-22; Kurt Busch 23-76; C. Edwards 77-92; M. Truex Jr. 93; D. Earnhardt Jr. 94-125; C. Bowyer 126-175; C. Edwards 176-178; M. Truex Jr. 179; C. Edwards 180-235; M. Kenseth 236-258; D. Hamlin 259; P. Menard 260-322; C. Edwards 323-335; P. Menard 336; K. Harvick 337-343; C. Edwards 344-374; M. Kenseth 375-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): M. Kenseth 2 times for 149 laps; C. Edwards 5 times for 119 laps; P. Menard 2 times for 64 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 54 laps; C. Bowyer 1 time for 50 laps; D. Earnhardt Jr. 1 time for 32 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 23 laps; K. Harvick 1 time for 7 laps; M. Truex Jr. 2 times for 2 laps.

Top 12 in Points: J. Johnson – 821; C. Bowyer – 803; C. Edwards – 768; K. Harvick – 760; Kyle Busch – 739; M. Kenseth – 736; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 714; K. Kahne – 701; G. Biffle – 698; J. Logano – 685; Brad Keselowski – 681; Kurt Busch – 679.

(This story will be updated shortly)

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, August 24 2013
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