Kenseth Hangs on for O'Reilly 300 Win
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Matt Kenseth survived an early spin and held off charging Denny Hamlin in the closing laps to win Saturday's O'Reilly 300 Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kenseth took then lead after Hamlin slipped on Lap 192 and stayed out front the rest of the way in winning his second Busch race at TMS and the 23rd of his career. Kenseth led Hamlin by .128 seconds at the stripe, the closest Busch Series finish in track history.
Points leader Carl Edwards ran third, followed by Casey Mears and polesitter David Ragan, who posted his best finish in the series. David Reutimann, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Jeff Burton completed the top 10.
Kenseth spun in Turn 1 on Lap 54 but managed to keep his No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford off the wall. Though he lost a lap as his crew changed his flat tires, he regained it as the beneficiary after the fourth caution on Lap 125 and gradually worked his way to the front.
"I heard something break going into (Turn) 1 -- I guess it was the right rear tire blowing out," Kenseth said. "I was able to figure out how to not hit the wall. A lot of it was luck. We lost a lap, but the main thing was to fix the car so it was still fast afterwards."
Once again, Kyle Busch had a strong car that failed to win. He led 113 laps before an untimely caution after a green-flag pit stop on Lap 119 forced him to restart at the tail end of the field. Though he regained track position after a subsequent caution, Busch was no match for the leaders in traffic.
Hamlin, who similarly was caught by a caution after short-pitting on Lap 51, held the lead when the field restarted on Lap 187. The restart was needed because Juan Pablo Montoya's No. 42 Dodge clobbered the wall – thanks to a tap from Marcos Ambrose -- that brought out the seventh and final caution of the race. Kenseth was third on that restart but quickly passed Mears for second.
"We were one of the best cars all day, but when we were out front we were really on the edge, and it finally got away from us," Hamlin said. "I just got loose there (on Lap 192) and opened the door."