The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner wrangled a deal late last season that brought former series champion Matt Kenseth to Joe Gibbs Racing, and the payoff has been immediate.
Kenseth beat the field off pit road on the day’s final caution, the held off a spirited late charge by Kasey Kahne to win the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway Sunday; his second victory of the young 2013 campaign.
Kahne drew alongside as the white flag was about to fly, but Kenseth held momentum in the tricky outside groove to maintain the lead and win his second consecutive race at Kansas.
"When it was in front, we knew it was really fast," said Kenseth, who also won in Kansas last fall for Roush Fenway Racing. “If we could get (off pit road) first, we'd be tough to beat."
He became the third consecutive Sprint Cup winner to do so from the pole, joining Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville and Kyle Busch last week in Texas. Johnson finished third to pad his championship points lead, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer. Brad Keselowski overcame damage that left him a lap down at mid-race to finish sixth, followed by Jamie McMurray, Aric Almirola, Mark Martin and Paul Menard.
Johnson now enjoys a whopping, 37-point lead in the championship standings, heading to Richmond International Raceeway next Saturday night. Keselowski is 38 points back in third.