Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kenseth Scores In Kentucky

Matt Kenseth claimed his first career Kentucky Speedway victory Sunday, taking the lead with a daring, fuel-only pit stop with just 23 laps remaining then driving away to a 0.699 of a second victory in the Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts. The win was his series-best fourth of the 2013 season. 

"I didn't roll the dice, (crew chief) Jason (Ratcliff) did,” said Kenseth in Victory Lane. “I thought he was slightly crazy when it happened. I didn't think there was any way we were going to hold on for that win. He made the right call at the right time and these guys got it done on pit road.”

After ending a 15-year tenure with Roush Fenway Racing at the end of last season to move to Joe Gibbs Racing, Kenseth admitted being  a bit surprised to be leading the Sprint Cup Series in victories. 

"I dreamed about it, but I didn't imagine it would be realistic,” he said. “It's been incredible. We've had some moments that have tested us already this season, but it's great to have the four wins. Hopefully we'll be able to keep it rolling.  

"This is such a great team and a great opportunity for me. It's been just an unbelievable season and year of my life.” 

Kenseth started 16th Sunday, the worst starting position for any winner in Kentucky Speedway’s brief Sprint Cup Series history. He climbed to second by Lap 60, led for the first time on lap 95 and regained the lead for the final time with a gutsy late pit stop that allowed him to lead the final 23 circuits, and 38 in all. 

Jamie McMurray finished a strong second, continuing a recent upswing in performance by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.  He called his runner-up finish, "a really good day for us,” adding, “we've had really quick cars for the last two months, and have not been able to capitalize on it.” 

Clint Bowyer was third, followed by Joey Logano and Kenseth's JGR teammate, Kyle Busch, who rebounded from an early spin to finish fifth. Kurt Busch, Sonoma winner Martin Truex, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick completed the Top-10.  

Johnson appeared to have the dominant car for much of the day, leading a track record 182 laps. But the championship leader Jimmie Johnson spun while running second on a restart with 20 laps to go, before mounting a furious comeback that brought him back inside the Top-10 at the checkered flag.

No comments:

Post a Comment