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Kenseth Dominates In Winning At Michigan

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, August 16 2015
Matt Kenseth won at Michigan on Sunday.  (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Garry Eller)

Matt Kenseth won at Michigan on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Garry Eller)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Matt Kenseth won for the second time in two weeks Sunday when he topped the Sprint Cup Series field at Michigan International Speedway.

The victory was the third of the season for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver and his third at the 2-mile MIS oval. The win was the fifth in the last six races for JGR.

sprint-logo-08Kenseth started from the pole and led 146 of 200 laps.

Afterward he said he couldn’t remember the last time he had a car as dominant as the one he drove Sunday.

“These guys gave me a great car,” he said of his team.

Finishing second was Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing, who got his podium even though he ran out of fuel trying to get to the pits on 114 while leading.

“We just fought a lot of things today,” Harvick said. “Just really proud of everybody on our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet for fighting back today.  We had some handling issues at the beginning of the race and then they were able to really make the car handle a lot better and then we overcame the running out of gas there and we were able to put ourselves back in position up in the front.  The No. 20 (Kenseth) was the class of the field today, but everybody on our Jimmy John’s team did a great job.”

Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. was third.

“We passed a lot of cars,” Truex said. “But we just couldn’t ever get that track position we needed to fight for the win. We were maybe as good as the 20
(Kenseth) at least. It would have been nice if we could have fought it out with him.”

Rounding out the top five were Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin of Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing respectively.

Dillon said he might have had the car to beat Kenseth.

“He was pretty solid,” Dillons said. “I got to the lead twice on him.  The first run I had a big enough lead where we had clean air and my car was turning pretty good out front.  It never seemed to get that back.  I kind of got tighter and tighter as the day went on as the rubber laid down.  We were really good though that first run.  We got the lead and stayed out in front of him.

“I think we were probably the second strongest car, and then we just didn’t adjustment much.  We didn’t do many adjustments that we…we haven’t run up there a lot and it’s hard to change a car that’s capable of staying up there.  So if I did it over again, I’d probably start freeing up a little earlier.  You know, his car was really good down the straightaway.  I got that one lead, (Kevin) Harvick pushed me – that’s what I was talking about – he got me a good push and I got out front and had a couple runs on him.  The draft seemed to work pretty good for us, and I tried to pull under him off of (Turn) 2, almost had it clear, went into (Turn) 3, and looking back maybe I should have slid him. But it would have been hard to keep out in front of him.  He had a really strong car.

Hamlin said he probably did not have the car to beat his teammate.

“We didn’t have quite the speed of the 20 (Kenseth),” Hamlin said. “Very proud  of the effort.”

Kenseth, having led 131 of the first 188 laps and with the car to beat under him, led the field to green for a restart with 12 laps to go. Next to him was Harvick while Truex was third and Hamlin fourth.

Kenseth’s Toyota and Harvick’s Chevrolet ran door-to-door into Turn 1 on the restart but coming out of the first turn, Kenseth had the lead.

“Denny did a spectacular job pushing me,” Kenseth said of his teammate. “From the restart zone to about Turn 2-ish was like a Superspeedway race and it was whoever got locked up (with a dance partner) and the Chevy’s could really hook up, Denny did a spectacular job giving me a good enough push to get by.”

From there, Kenseth extended his lead and won by 1.7 seconds.

Despite starting from the rear of the field, Kyle Busch finished 11th, solidified his position in the top 30 in points and moved closer to a spot in the Chase. Now 29th in the standings, Busch leads 30th-place Justin Allgaier by 18 points and 31st-place Cole Whitt by 23.

Perhaps the biggest loser in terms of bubble trouble, was Clint Bowyer.

After running consistently in the top five, Bowyer’s No. 15 Toyota bounced off the outside backstretch wall on Lap 126—the result of contact with Ryan Newman’s Chevrolet—and careened into the inside wall.

Bowyer finished 41st and dropped one position in the standings to 15th, 23 points ahead of Aric Almirola in 16th and 26 ahead of Kasey Kahne in 17th.

Bowyer and his Michael Waltrip Racing team are currently in the final Chase-eligible position. If the next three races produce one or more unique winners, however, his Chase spot could be in serious jeopardy.

 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Pure Michigan 400

Michigan International Speedway

Brooklyn, Michigan

Sunday, August 16, 2015 

  1. (1) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 200, $226586.
  2. (7) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 200, $185285.
  3. (22) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 200, $137130.
  4. (4) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 200, $150746.
  5. (2) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 200, $114000.
  6. (3) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 200, $97890.
  7. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 200, $137348.
  8. (17) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 200, $130540.
  9. (14) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 200, $141756.
  10. (9) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 200, $107415.
  11. (6) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 200, $132906.
  12. (24) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 200, $98790.
  13. (34) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 200, $118098.
  14. (30) Aric Almirola, Ford, 200, $126501.
  15. (11) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 200, $103615.
  16. (18) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 200, $118431.
  17. (21) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 200, $132826.
  18. (13) David Ragan, Toyota, 200, $114879.
  19. (15) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 200, $113610.
  20. (16) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 199, $102340.
  21. (5) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 199, $113754.
  22. (25) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 198, $127390.
  23. (20) Greg Biffle, Ford, 198, $117023.
  24. (19) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 198, $82390.
  25. (23) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 198, $93415.
  26. (27) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 198, $93015.
  27. (35) Cole Whitt, Ford, 198, $102823.
  28. (26) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 198, $115573.
  29. (28) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 197, $106398.
  30. (32) Matt DiBenedetto #, Toyota, 197, $98798.
  31. (33) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 197, $93062.
  32. (36) David Gilliland, Ford, 197, $88915.
  33. (29) Jeb Burton #, Toyota, 197, $80840.
  34. (38) Brett Moffitt #, Ford, 197, $80740.
  35. (39) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 197, $80565.
  36. (31) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 196, $80515.
  37. (41) Josh Wise, Ford, 196, $80454.
  38. (37) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 194, $75877.
  39. (8) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 190, $119741.
  40. (42) Travis Kvapil(i), Chevrolet, 190, $67805.
  41. (12) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 164, $97963.
  42. (40) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, Overheating, 51, $67805.
  43. (43) Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, Parked, 9, $56305.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  143.455 mph.

Time of Race:  02 Hrs, 47 Mins, 18 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.722 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  8 for 31 laps.

Lead Changes:  16 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   M. Kenseth 1-22; A. Dillon 23-40; M. Kenseth 41-59; J. Gordon 60; Kyle Busch 61-62; M. Kenseth 63-75; C. Bowyer 76; M. Kenseth 77-98; K. Harvick 99-113; C. Edwards 114-116; M. Kenseth 117-122; C. Edwards 123-124; A. Dillon 125; M. Kenseth 126-164; Kyle Busch 165-172; A. Almirola 173-175; M. Kenseth 176-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  M. Kenseth 7 times for 146 laps; A. Dillon 2 times for 19 laps; K. Harvick 1 time for 15 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 10 laps; C. Edwards 2 times for 5 laps; A. Almirola 1 time for 3 laps; C. Bowyer 1 time for 1 lap; J. Gordon 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick – 866; J. Logano – 818; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 784; M. Truex Jr. – 755; B. Keselowski – 754; J. Johnson – 752; M. Kenseth – 751; Kurt Busch – 683; D. Hamlin – 670; J. Mcmurray – 663; P. Menard – 654; R. Newman – 649; J. Gordon – 648; C. Edwards – 628; C. Bowyer – 616; A. Almirola – 593.

 

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, August 16 2015
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