Kenseth Captures Victory at the Track Too Tough to Tame

Photo- Getty Images
Photo- Getty Images

A year of revival is now fully underway for Matt Kenseth as he picked up the win in Saturday Night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500. The win was his third of the season (Las Vegas, Kansas) and this is arguably the best start to a season Kenseth has ever had. One difference between this season and all of the other ones Kenseth has competed in? He’s now at Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth is making the most out of this new relationship and it could continue to be a successful one as the season progresses. The race wasn’t a total domination by Kenseth, but he made a pass at the right time which led him to victory.

For the first half of the race, it was a Busch brothers show as Kurt led early from the pole and Kyle inherited the lead on lap 74 and held it for much of the race. After a round of green flag pit stops, Jeff Gordon became the new leader, but Kyle Busch would soon return to the lead on lap 202.

The normally rough and tough Darlington wasn’t as present in this race as it has been in years past, but in the final one-hundred laps, the hard racing action picked up. Cautions breed cautions and the first of a chain of yellow-flags came out with 66 laps to go when Regan Smith spun on the backstretch. Just a few laps following the restart, a wreck broke out on the frontstretch when a gaggle of cars tried to race in a large group on Darlington’s narrow lanes. The wreck occurred when Casey Mears got tapped from behind and he slid up into the wall and then back down the track into the inside wall which he hit with a lot of force, causing significant damage to his car. Brad Keselowski also suffered some damage in the incident.

Another yellow-flag flew with 39 laps to go after Josh Wise spun in turn 3 and he came down and back up the track into the wall. David Reutimann had nowhere to go and he piled into the wrecking Wise which caused some damage to his No.83 car. Throughout the chain of cautions, Busch managed to hold onto the lead, but Kasey Kahne had been lurking and he finally got his opportunity on the ensuing restart.

Busch and Kahne battled for the lead for multiple laps after the restart and when the two tried to enter turn 1 side-by-side, Busch came up on Kahne and the air from Busch’s car did something weird. The air off of Busch’s car got Kahne loose and he slid up into the wall to bring out the fifth caution of the race. Neither driver was happy with the situation and Kahne was blaming Busch for the incident, but Busch never actually got into Kahne as there was no evidence of contact on either of the drivers’ cars. Kahne was able to continue in the race and Busch was about to have another battle for the lead on his hands.

Kenseth started lurking behind Busch following the restart and with 13 laps to go, Kenseth got around Busch for the lead. That was the final lead change of the day and then Kenseth went on with ease in the final thirteen laps to take the Darlington victory. This win was a big one for Kenseth since it is the Southern 500 and that’s a race a racer dreams of winning. It only took being consistent all night for Kenseth to pull into victory lane and his endurance throughout the race made this win possible. Kenseth will be in next weekend’s All-Star Race as will many other drivers as NASCAR returns home to Charlotte for a few weeks for some exciting racing under the lights.

By Jason Schultz

Results via ESPN.com

POS

DRIVER

CAR

MANUFACTURER

LAPS

MONEY

START

LED

PTS

BONUS

PENALTY

1

Matt Kenseth

20

Toyota

367

 

7

17

47

4

0

2

Denny Hamlin

11

Toyota

367

 

6

0

42

0

0

3

Jeff Gordon

24

Chevrolet

367

 

8

16

42

1

0

4

Jimmie Johnson

48

Chevrolet

367

 

2

0

40

0

0

5

Kevin Harvick

29

Chevrolet

367

 

10

0

39

0

0

6

Kyle Busch

18

Toyota

367

 

3

265

40

2

0

7

Carl Edwards

99

Ford

367

 

17

0

37

0

0

8

Juan Pablo Montoya

42

Chevrolet

367

 

12

0

36

0

0

9

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

88

Chevrolet

367

 

16

0

35

0

0

10

Ryan Newman

39

Chevrolet

367

 

21

0

34

0

0

11

Clint Bowyer

15

Toyota

367

 

13

0

33

0

0

12

Martin Truex Jr.

56

Toyota

367

 

5

0

32

0

0

13

Greg Biffle

16

Ford

367

 

9

0

31

0

0

14

Kurt Busch

78

Chevrolet

367

 

1

69

31

1

0

15

Tony Stewart

14

Chevrolet

367

 

20

0

29

0

0

16

Jamie McMurray

1

Chevrolet

367

 

25

0

28

0

0

17

Kasey Kahne

5

Chevrolet

367

 

4

0

27

0

0

18

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17

Ford

366

 

14

0

26

0

0

19

Paul Menard

27

Chevrolet

366

 

15

0

25

0

0

20

Aric Almirola

43

Ford

366

 

18

0

24

0

0

21

Jeff Burton

31

Chevrolet

365

 

11

0

23

0

0

22

Joey Logano

22

Ford

365

 

30

0

22

0

0

23

Travis Kvapil

93

Toyota

364

 

28

0

21

0

0

24

Regan Smith

51

Chevrolet

363

 

27

0

0

0

0

25

Mark Martin

55

Toyota

363

 

22

0

19

0

0

26

Bobby Labonte

47

Toyota

363

 

23

0

18

0

0

27

Dave Blaney

7

Chevrolet

362

 

37

0

17

0

0

28

Danica Patrick

10

Chevrolet

362

 

40

0

16

0

0

29

David Gilliland

38

Ford

362

 

29

0

15

0

0

30

Landon Cassill

33

Chevrolet

360

 

32

0

14

0

0

31

Joe Nemechek

87

Toyota

359

 

43

0

0

0

0

32

Brad Keselowski

2

Ford

358

 

26

0

12

0

0

33

Timmy Hill

32

Ford

358

 

41

0

11

0

0

34

Marcos Ambrose

9

Ford

358

 

24

0

10

0

0

35

J.J. Yeley

36

Chevrolet

354

 

42

0

9

0

0

36

David Reutimann

83

Toyota

327

 

33

0

8

0

0

37

Casey Mears

13

Ford

327

 

19

0

7

0

0

38

Josh Wise

35

Ford

326

 

34

0

0

0

0

39

David Ragan

34

Ford

318

 

31

0

5

0

0

40

David Stremme

30

Toyota

230

 

39

0

4

0

0

41

Scott Speed

95

Ford

77

 

36

0

3

0

0

42

Michael McDowell

98

Ford

58

 

35

0

2

0

0

43

Mike Bliss

19

Toyota

18

 

38

0

0

0

0

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