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Kenseth Makes It Two Straight Victories At New Hampshire But Fails Inspection

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 17 2016
Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after winning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after winning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

Matt Kenseth became a two-time 2016 Sprint Cup race winner Sunday when he cruised to victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday.

After the race, Kenseth’s car failed inspection but for the time, his victory is in the books.

Kensenth, who won in Week 12 at Dover, took the checkered flag in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota sprint-logo-08almost two full seconds ahead of runner-up Tony Stewart of Stewart-Haas Racing.

The victory was Kenseth’s second straight at the New Hampshire mile.

“You’re always pleased to be in Victory Lane,” the 44-year-old Kenseth said. “The further down the road you get, the better they feel for sure.”

Even though the win was No. 3 overall in Loudon, Kenseth insisted NHMS has been a problem track for him.

“This has never been one of my good tracks,” he said, “but Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) has a great setup here and I have great teammates. Certainly when I first got here, Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin) taught me a lot about this place that I applied every lap today. Just fortunate guy to be
driving this thing, when they drive this good it definitely makes my job a lot easier.”

Joey Logano of Team Penske finished third.

“I will take a third place after all that,” Logano said. “We were awful at the beginning of the race. We tried some new things and apparently they didn’t work so we aborted mission in the middle of the race and got some speed back in the 22 but not enough to beat the 20. I thought we would have something since we had 4 tires but we didn’t have the car to get up there with him. Overall, to recover to third after running 15th or 16th most of the race is pretty good for this team. We have a never quite attitude and it paid off today.”

Kevin Harvick of SHR was fourth and Greg Biffle of Roush Fenway Racing was fifth.

“I’m happy,” Stewart, who missed the first eight races of the season and who now needs to conclude the none-Chase portion of the season 30th or better in points to qualifying for the playoffs, said. “This is the kind of day we wanted here. We’re getting close.”

Six-time champion Jimmie Johnson started the race from the pole but lost it to Kyle Busch on Lap 2. Busch kept the lead quite a bit longer, leading the next 86 laps.

On Lap 88 of the 201-lap race, Matrin Truex Jr. moved past Busch and into the lead. Truex held the lead for the next 84 laps. Then, on Lap 172, Busch made his way to, and then past, Truex to reclaim the lead.

Busch was comfortably in the lead when the yellow flag waved for debris on the track. The field pitted and Truex re-emerged with the lead. Busch restarted second on Lap 227 but was quickly passed by teammate Kenseth.

Kenseth quickly caught Truex and stayed with him. Several times over the next 15 or so laps Kenseth was able pull alongside of Truex, bunt was beaten back. With about 60 laps to go, Truex was able to put a half second of gap between him and Kenseth.

With 47 laps to go, Kenseth was back on Truex’s rear bumper and with 44 to go he took his first lead of the day. Once out front, Keneth began to pull away. Worse for Truex, Busch was moving up on him for second place. And worse than that, the gear-shifter in his car broke. That led to a blown clutch and his shot at a good finish was gone.

On Lap 264, a caution was called for debris. The leaders pitted – except for Denny Hamlin, who restarted with the lead.

With 31 to to, Kenseth, who took two tires during the pit stops, pulled alongside of his JGR teammate and made the pass for the lead.

With 29 laps to go, Alex Bowman, filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., blew a tire while running eighth. Also blowing tires at about the same time was Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott.

A blitz of wrecks and cautions over the final 25 laps reshuffled the field behind Kenseth. With 10 to go, Logano was second, Stewart third, Harvick fourth and Biffle fifth.

The finish was the best of the year for Biffle. It was one place better than he finished a week ago at Kentucky Speedway.

“It was a great run with the 18 car (Busch) there toward the end. We finally had a chance to race with those guys a little bit. We are still working hard on these cars to get them faster. It was a great run for the NESN Ford Fusion today. There was a lot of attrition there at the end that got us in the top-five but once we got up there we were pretty fair racing with the 18, 4 (Harvick) and 22 (Logao.”

But none had the car to catch Kenseth who, over the final seven laps ran out to a very comfortable lead and eased to the victory.

Kenseth led 38 laps which was third most behind Kyle Busch’s 133 and Truex’s 123.

After the race, it was announced that Kenseth’s No. 20 Toyota had failed laser inspection.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – New Hampshire 301

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Loudon, New Hampshire

Sunday, July 17, 2016

  1. (18) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 301.
  2. (12) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 301.
  3. (6) Joey Logano, Ford, 301.
  4. (8) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 301.
  5. (28) Greg Biffle, Ford, 301.
  6. (19) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 301.
  7. (25) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 301.
  8. (2) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 301.
  9. (5) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 301.
  10. (22) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 301.
  11. (14) * Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 301.
  12. (1) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 301.
  13. (15) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 301.
  14. (29) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 301.
  15. (9) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 301.
  16. (3) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 301.
  17. (17) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 301.
  18. (24) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 301.
  19. (26) Aric Almirola, Ford, 301.
  20. (13) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 301.
  21. (10) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 301.
  22. (4) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 301.
  23. (31) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 301.
  24. (32) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 301.
  25. (11) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 301.
  26. (20) Alex Bowman(i), Chevrolet, 301.
  27. (21) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 300.
  28. (30) Landon Cassill, Ford, 299.
  29. (35) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 299.
  30. (23) David Ragan, Toyota, 299.
  31. (16) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 299.
  32. (34) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 297.
  33. (37) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 295.
  34. (7) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 294.
  35. (36) * Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 294.
  36. (38) Eddie MacDonald, Ford, 293.
  37. (40) * Ryan Ellis(i), Chevrolet, 292.
  38. (33) Brian Scott #, Ford, 278.
  39. (27) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, Electrical, 191.
  40. (39) * Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Accident, 94.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  107.416 mph.

Time of Race:  02 Hrs, 57 Mins, 53 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.982 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  7 for 36 laps.

Lead Changes:  13 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   J. Johnson 1; Kyle Busch 2-36; M. Truex Jr 37; Kyle Busch 38-88; M. Truex Jr 89-171; Kyle Busch 172-182; M. Truex Jr 183; B. Keselowski 184; Kyle Busch 185-220; M. Truex Jr 221-257; M. Kenseth 258-264; M. Truex Jr 265; D. Hamlin 266-270; M. Kenseth 271-301.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 4 times for 133 laps; M. Truex Jr 5 times for 123 laps; M. Kenseth 2 times for 38 laps; D. Hamlin 1 time for 5 laps; B. Keselowski 1 time for 1 lap; J. Johnson 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick – 636; B. Keselowski – 622; Kurt Busch – 602; C. Edwards – 587; J. Logano – 571; Kyle Busch – 556; M. Truex Jr – 540; M. Kenseth – 521; J. Johnson – 514; D. Hamlin – 505; C. Elliott # – 499; R. Newman – 497; A. Dillon – 488; J. Mcmurray – 474; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 461; T. Bayne – 447.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 17 2016
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