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Kenseth wins at Kansas

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Sunday, October 21, 2012

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Matt Kenseth

Matt Kenseth dominated the later moments of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway to give Roush Fenway the weekend sweep at the newly-paved 1.5-mile track; RFR’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the Nationwide race at Kansas on Saturday.

Matt Kenseth won a wild war of attrition, otherwise known as the Hollywood Casino 400, beating Martin Truex Jr. to the checkered flag by 0.495 seconds to claim his third victory of the season, his first at Kansas and the 24th of his career.

“It (the win) really means a lot,” said an emotional Kenseth in victory lane. “I have to thank God for all of the opportunities and guidance. I (also) want to thank Jack Roush, Robbie Reiser and Mark Martin; without those guys I would have never been at Roush Fenway Racing.”

Kenseth was fast on the day, leading a race-high 77 laps and driving his No. 17 Zest Ford away from the field during the final 20 laps of the race. For Kenseth it was his third win of the season and his second in the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup. It is his 24th career Sprint Cup victory.

The win marks Roush Fenway Racing’s 311th NASCAR victory, with 130 coming in the Sprint Cup Series. It is RFR’s fourth Sprint Cup Series win at Kansas and it’s ninth overall win at the track. Kenseth becomes the eighth Roush Fenway driver to win at Kansas.

Paul Menard ran third, followed by polesitter Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart, who rallied from a 33rd-place starting position and a spin on the backstretch during the race.

Kenseth won the race despite scraping the wall behind a spinning Aric Almirola after a restart on Lap 173.

"I thought it was over when I got in the fence when Aric wrecked under Mark [Martin]," Kenseth said. "I was watching them and trying to make sure I didn't hit them and I flat-sided it pretty bad. It ended up working in our favor. They fixed the body as good as it was when we started, and we had to take less gas in that last pit stop, and the pit crew put me out front.

"I knew I hit it really hard but thought it was centered up in the door real good, and we had a similar thing happen at Homestead last year. As soon as we got the fender back where it was supposed to be, it was fine. I was happy, as hard as I hit it, that my steering wheel was still in the right place."

Throughout the day, however, other drivers found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. The slick, new racing surface at the 1.5-mile speedway produced a track-record 14 cautions for 66 caution laps, and no one was immune from disaster -- not even a five-time champion.

Jimmie Johnson's quest for a sixth Cup title appeared to have suffered a severe setback on Lap 135, when the No. 48 Chevrolet spun in heavy traffic and backed into the Turn 4 wall. After leading 44 laps, Johnson had just taken a wave-around for a restart on Lap 128, having been trapped a lap down when Aric Almirola smacked the Turn 2 wall, and the resulting caution interrupted a cycle of green-flag pit stops.

Johnson, however, stayed on the lead lap through a succession of pit stops under the yellow, and a liberal application of BearBond kept the No. 48 competitive. Astoundingly, Johnson and his team salvaged a ninth-place finish on a day that could have been much worse and remained seven points behind eighth-place finisher and series leader Brad Keselowski with four races left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

"I'm very proud, but also disappointed," Johnson said. "I crashed the car. I spun out trying to get inside the 56 [Truex]. He bobbled a little in front of me, and I thought that was an opportunity to jump in the gas real hard.

"When I did that, my car took off and I couldn't catch it. All-in-all, a good day, but it could have been a lot better. I think we could have been in Victory Lane, and stretched some points on these guys."

Keselowski, who fought his way forward from the 25th starting position was thankful for a day that ended with his No. 2 Dodge intact.

"I'm ready to go home and have a couple beers," Keselowski said after climbing from his car. “It’s just been a long day, Everybody has been asking all season long where the cautions have been. Well, they flew to Kansas and they've been hanging out here, because there was caution after caution, and it seemed like every wreck that happened today happened right in front of me.

"So, I'm glad to have survived the carnage and brought back a decent car in great shape and dodged a bullet of a race. That's the only thing I can use to describe it."

Despite the conditions, the repaving job, which included a reconfiguration with graduated banking, drew favorable reviews -- not surprisingly -- from drivers who finished near the front of the field.

"I thought the track was great," Truex said. "The outside lane is going to come in really, really good -- probably by next year, I would say. Their winters here are pretty rough, and I expect it will weather the track in really nicely.

"Once the outside got working, it was actually pretty darn good. It's going to be a cool race track here in the future, and they did a great job with it."

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 12 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Zest 48/2 267 Running
2 16 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 42/0 267 Running
3 14 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / CertainTeed 42/1 267 Running
4 1 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 41/1 267 Running
5 33 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 39/0 267 Running
6 3 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women 39/1 267 Running
7 39 88 Regan Smith Chevrolet National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew 37/0 267 Running
8 25 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 36/0 267 Running
9 7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 36/1 267 Running
10 19 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 35/1 267 Running
11 10 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 33/0 267 Running
12 18 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Black & Decker 32/0 267 Running
13 9 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 31/0 267 Running
14 17 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 30/0 267 Running
15 21 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Arctic Cat 29/0 267 Running
16 24 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Taylor Swift / Target 28/0 267 Running
17 31 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 28/1 267 Running
18 26 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 26/0 267 Running
19 8 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 25/0 267 Running
20 37 34 David Ragan Ford Client One Securities, LLC 24/0 267 Running
21 32 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 0 267 Running
22 42 32 Timmy Hill Ford Southern Pride Trucking / U.S. Chrome 22/0 267 Running
23 38 38 David Gilliland Ford Long John Silver's 22/1 267 Running
24 2 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 21/1 267 Running
25 29 78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 19/0 265 Running
26 15 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 0 234 In Pit
27 11 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / Sherwin Williams 17/0 227 Running
28 20 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 16/0 214 Running
29 5 43 Aric Almirola Ford Farmland 16/1 212 Running
30 6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Code 3 Associates 14/0 188 In Pit
31 4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's Halloween 13/0 181 In Pit
32 40 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 0 154 In Pit
33 22 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Kingsford 11/0 140 In Pit
34 35 195 Scott Speed Ford B&D Electrical 10/0 77 Out of Race
35 13 51 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 9/0 69 Running
36 30 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Plinker Tactical / Crowne Plaza 0 47 In Pit
37 28 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 7/0 29 In Pit
38 43 179 Kelly Bires Ford Bestway Disposal / Re-Load.biz 0 28 In Pit
39 41 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet TBR / TMone 5/0 25 In Pit
40 36 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 0 22 In Pit
41 34 191 Reed Sorenson Toyota Plinker Tactical / Crowne Plaza 0 18 In Pit
42 27 37 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet MaxQworkforce.com 2/0 11 In Pit
43 23 98 Michael McDowell Ford K-Love / Curb Records 1/0 7 In Pit

* Denotes Rookie

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