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Kenseth Powers Past Edwards For Nationwide Win

by Pete McCole
Saturday, May 28, 2011

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Matt Kenseth
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com

Matt Kenseth continued the Roush-Fenway streak at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a victory over teammate Carl Edwards in Saturday’s Top Gear 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Kenseth passed Edwards with three laps to go to record his 26th-career Nationwide Series victory in his first start of the season - filling in for the ailing Trevor Bayne in the no. 16 Ford Fusion.

Edwards held onto second, followed by Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and Reed Sorenson.

It was the third straight Nationwide Series victory for Roush-Fenway Racing, and the third victory for the team at Charlotte the span of a week, with David Ragan winning last Saturday’s Sprint Showdown, and Edwards taking the checkered flag in the Sprint All Star race.

Edwards also captured the pole for Sunday’s Coca Cola 600, while RFR driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. sat on the pole for the Nationwide race.

“That was fun,” said Kenseth. “It was fun to fill in. This is the first Nationwide COT race I’ve run. I haven’t run (in the Nationwide Series) in over a year, so it was nice to get in this car and come out here and have some fun on Saturday.”

“What a difference a year makes,” said team owner Jack Roush. “Last year it seemed we couldn’t buy a win.”

The Roush teammates dominated the race, leading a combined 104 laps, including the final 65 laps with Kenseth and Edwards trading the top spot following a round of green flags stops on lap 150 - putting Edwards back out in front and Kenseth running fifth with four fresh tires.

“We had to pit early because I had a tire shaking a little bit, so we had more laps on our tires than those other guys and we were short on fuel,” said Kenseth. “We were the first one off pit road with four and lined up fifth, so I thought that would give us a shot at least.”

After a brief side-by-side battle with Kyle Busch, Edwards moved out to a two-second lead, hoping to gain enough of a cushion to be able to conserve fuel, but once Kenseth cleared Busch to move into second place he turned up the wick - closing to within two car-lengths of Edwards with ten laps to go.

On lap 194, Kenseth dived under Edwards in a bid for the lead, but Edwards pulled a crossover maneuver to regain the lead as they came to the backstretch.

Kenseth battled back, and with three laps to go tried the bottom again, this time clearing Edwards to into the top spot and moving out to a five car-length lead as Edwards began to fade back, having used up his car trying to hold off Kenseth.

“I couldn’t get back to him,” said Edwards “Matt (Kenseth), there at the end, he was better and he had kid gloves on with me there. He was taking it easy on me and when it was time to go e dispatched me pretty quick.

“I was just trying to get everything I could, but the car just kept getting tighter and tighter. I just needed the race to be five laps shorter and it would have been pretty good.” 

After leading much of the middle part of the race, Kyle Busch came up short of eclipsing Mark Martin on the all-time Nationwide win list, coming home with a third-place finish leaving him tied with Martin at 48 wins.

“There’s a little disappointment, but there’s plenty of time left to get there,” said Busch, whose next scheduled Nationwide Series start is June 18 at Michigan International Speedway. “We just have to wait another couple of weeks before we can try to get it done.”

“Those guys (Kenseth and Edwards) were definitely faster than us today. They came out of nowhere where they ran me down from a half-a-straightaway and drove by me and then took off for another half-a-straightaway. Once they got to me, I was a sitting duck and they just drove by me and took off. They were really fast.”

Former Formula One Champion Kimi Räikkönen, who made his NASCAR debut in last Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race driving for Kyle Busch, struggled in his Nationwide debut with an ill-handling racecar, eventually finishing 27.

“The car was getting more and more difficult,” said Räikkönen. “It really turned out to be a really bad day with the handling just because I couldn’t get the car to turn and had to almost stop in the corners because it was pushing all the time.” 

Elliott Sadler battled back from a lap down late in the race to finish in tenth place to retain the points lead by one point over Stenhouse, Jr.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 3 16 Matt Kenseth Ford Fastenal 0 200 Running
2 5 60 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 0 200 Running
3 4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Z-Line Designs 0 200 Running
4 1 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Fastenal 41/1 200 Running
5 6 32 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Dollar General 39/0 200 Running
6 13 22 Brad Keselowski Dodge Discount Tire 0 200 Running
7 16 66 Steve Wallace Toyota 5-Hour Energy 37/0 200 Running
8 12 11 Brian Scott Toyota Shore Lodge 36/0 200 Running
9 8 88 Aric Almirola Chevrolet Hellmann's 35/0 200 Running
10 10 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 34/0 200 Running
11 11 20 Joey Logano Toyota GameStop 0 199 Running
12 7 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Alliance Truck Parts 33/1 199 Running
13 15 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet SEM Products 32/1 199 Running
14 18 62 Michael Annett Toyota Pilot Flying J 31/1 199 Running
15 14 99 Cole Whitt Toyota Red Bull 0 199 Running
16 2 33 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem Tankless Water Heaters 0 199 Running
17 20 7 Josh Wise Chevrolet Voodoo Ride 27/0 198 Running
18 25 19 Mike Bliss Chevrolet MillerWelds.com 26/0 198 Running
19 39 39 Danny Efland Ford C3i Sports 25/0 198 Running
20 21 09 Kenny Wallace Toyota Family Farmers 24/0 198 Running
21 17 38 Jason Leffler Chevrolet Great Clips 23/0 197 Running
22 9 30 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Rexall 0 197 Running
23 33 15 Timmy Hill * Ford Nuts Off / Lilly Trucking of Virginia 21/0 197 Running
24 41 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet Victory In Jesus 20/0 197 Running
25 24 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet Cowboys & Aliens 19/0 197 Running
26 23 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Co-ops USA.com 18/0 196 Running
27 22 87 Kimi Raikkonen Toyota Perky Jerky 0 196 Running
28 34 14 Eric McClure Chevrolet Hefty BlackOut / Reynolds 16/0 195 Running
29 19 97 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 15/0 194 Engine
30 32 28 Derrike Cope Dodge Maxelence 14/0 193 Running
31 40 113 Jennifer Jo Cobb * Ford drivenmale.com / DriverBoutique.com 13/0 191 Running
32 36 70 Dennis Setzer Chevrolet Pouch Tech Inc. 12/0 162 Electrical
33 30 52 Kevin Lepage Chevrolet TRX Alliance 11/0 112 Engine
34 27 81 Blake Koch * Dodge Daystar.com / "Set Free" 10/0 80 Engine
35 29 141 Jeffrey Earnhardt Chevrolet Pepsi Max / Nuts Off / FastWax 0 71 Rear End
36 42 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Dodge FunnyDanRace CarMan.com / North Texas Pipe 8/0 42 Accident
37 31 172 John Jackson Toyota CrashClaimsR.us 0 41 Vibration
38 26 79 Tim Andrews Ford Mooresville Ford 0 24 Ignition
39 37 175 Carl Long Ford Lilly Trucking of Virginia 5/0 15 Overheating
40 38 174 Mike Harmon Chevrolet Riverwalk Cafe / IPT Pellet Grills 4/0 10 Wheel Bearing
41 43 49 David Green Chevrolet Acredale Vending 3/0 6 Vibration
42 28 104 Kelly Bires Ford Go Green Racing 2/0 5 Overheating
43 35 44 Jeff Green Chevrolet TriStar Motorsports / Pro Motor Engines 1/0 4 Vibration

* Denotes Rookie

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