Kenseth wins as Busch, Keselowski clash

Matt Kenseth celebrates
Getty Images for NASCAR

Matt Kenseth may have won Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kansas Speedway, but Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski provided the most explosive fireworks in a wild race that featured 11 cautions in 200 laps.

Kenseth pulled away after a restart with five laps left and won going away, as Paul Menard edged Regan Smith for second on the final lap. Busch ran fourth after causing the final caution by sending Keselowski into the fence on Lap 188.

Justin Allgaier ran fifth, followed by Austin Dillon, who took the series lead from Sam Hornish Jr., who came home 17th. Dillon leads Hornish by eight points with four races left in the season.

The victory was Kenseth’s second of the season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, his first at the 1.5-mile speedway and the 28th of his career.

To Kenseth, the key to the win was his ability to clear the rest of the field after the final restart.

“I knew it was important to get going," Kenseth said. “Regan gave me a little bit of a push there. The 31 (Allgaier) was pushing the 54 (Busch) as well. I had just enough speed to get around ‘em off (Turn) 2. I had 'em cleared off of 2, which was a big key, because I could use the whole track from there."

Keselowski surged into the lead after a restart on Lap 151 but surrendered the top spot to Kenseth on Lap 166. Busch caught Keselowski a few laps later, and as the cars that were 1-2 in the owners’ championship standings battled for the second position, Kenseth’s lead expanded from 1.4 seconds to more than 2.5.

With Kenseth streaking away, Busch closed up on Keselowski’s rear bumper. Contact from Busch’s No. 54 Camry sent Keselowski’s No. 22 Ford spinning toward the infield grass and then back up the track rear-end-first into the outside wall.

“Really?!" Keselowski said incredulously on his radio as his car began to spin.

Keselowski climbed from his car, which was unable to restart, ran toward Busch’s pit and saluted his rivals’ crew, then headed full-speed toward the infield care center, as Busch and Kenseth rolled toward a five-lap shootout for the win.

But Kenseth pulled away after the restart as Busch was shuffled back to fifth, leaving Menard and Smith to settle second place between them on the final lap.

After the race, Keselowski expressed his displeasure and suggested he may exact retribution during the final seven Cup races. Busch is third in the Cup standings, contending for what would be his first championship. Keselowski, the reigning champion, missed the Chase this year.

“I got wrecked by a dirty driver," Keselowski said. “There’s no other way of putting it. He’s cool with that. I have raced him really cool over the last year to be respectful to him and try to repair our relationship…

“He put me in the fence in Chicago in the Truck race, and the Nationwide races he has been pulling this crap. It is not going to last, I can tell you that. I feel bad for the guys next to me (indicating the No. 54 team) that are going to have to fix his stuff. That’s going to be part of racing and they are going to have to deal with it…

“Now we’ve got war."

Busch took responsibility for the incident but dismissed it as a racing accident.

“It was hard racing," Busch said. "There were a lot of moments where maybe I felt a little crowded, but the contact there that ultimately ended it… I just got real tight off (Turn) 4. I’ve been battling tight underneath him and behind him and everything else, and finally I thought I had a run, and I tried to stay in the gas so I could get a run on him and get to his quarter and side-drafted him down the front straightaway.

“I got too tight, got inside his wake and just got too close to him and spun him out."

As to Keselowski’s comments, Busch shot back: “Brad Keselowski knows what dirty drivers are because he’s done it plenty of times. But I have yet to wreck a person on purpose…I got wrecked for the Chase spot by Brad Keselowski (in 2012) and then had an opportunity to wreck him a few times throughout the Chase and didn’t.

“(I) let him and Jimmie Johnson battle it out on their own, and ultimately he won the deal. If I wanted to, I could have cost Brad Keselowski a championship, but I’m a bigger person than that."


Pos Car # Driver Make Start Pos. Laps Led Status
1 18 Matt Kenseth Toyota 17 200 38 Running
2 33 Paul Menard Chevrolet 4 200 1 Running
3 7 Regan Smith Chevrolet 5 200 81 Running
4 54 Kyle Busch Toyota 12 200 0 Running
5 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 2 200 14 Running
6 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 1 200 36 Running
7 77 Parker Kligerman Toyota 7 200 7 Running
8 5 Brad Sweet Chevrolet 9 200 0 Running
9 6 Trevor Bayne Ford 8 200 5 Running
10 11 Elliott Sadler Toyota 3 200 0 Running
11 99 Alex Bowman Toyota 11 200 0 Running
12 43 Michael Annett Ford 18 200 0 Running
13 19 Mike Bliss Toyota 21 200 0 Running
14 60 Travis Pastrana Ford 20 200 0 Running
15 34 James Buescher Chevrolet 25 200 0 Running
16 16 Chris Buescher Ford 10 200 2 Running
17 12 Sam Hornish Jr Ford 15 200 0 Running
18 2 Brian Scott Chevrolet 6 200 0 Running
19 21 Dakoda Armstrong Chevrolet 30 200 0 Running
20 30 Nelson Piquet Jr Chevrolet 14 200 0 Running
21 39 Ryan Sieg Chevrolet 22 200 0 Running
22 4 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 34 199 0 Running
23 79 Bryan Silas Ford 28 199 0 Running
24 70 Johanna Long Chevrolet 23 199 0 Running
25 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 36 196 0 Running
26 23 Jennifer Jo Cobb Ford 39 195 0 Running
27 14 Eric McClure Toyota 38 191 0 Running
28 22 Brad Keselowski Ford 13 187 15 Accident
29 20 Brian Vickers Toyota 16 179 0 Running
30 32 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 19 145 0 Handling
31 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet 32 137 1 Running
32 24 Ken Butler Toyota 37 131 0 Accident
33 40 T.J. Bell Chevrolet 33 120 0 Accident
34 74 Carl Long Dodge 40 102 0 Vibration
35 44 Hal Martin Toyota 27 80 0 Accident
36 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 24 77 0 Engine
37 00 Blake Koch Toyota 29 28 0 Overheating
38 46 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 31 11 0 Vibration
39 42 Josh Wise Chevrolet 35 8 0 Rear Gear
40 10 Jeff Green Toyota 26 4 0 Vibration

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