March 4th, 2015
Matt Kenseth is now two for two when it comes Chase races after winning Sunday’s Sylvania 300 from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This comes one week after he won the marathon GEICO 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway. The win was also the seventh of what can be called a dream season for the veteran who was marking his 500th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start.
With New Hampshire traditionally being a thorn in Kenseth’s side, many figured he would lose points rather than gain more over second play Kyle Busch.
“Had a great day on Friday, great day of practice, really, really fast in race trim. We were off just a little bit qualifying, still qualified well, and then really fast on Saturday in race trim. So I felt really confident with my car today. To have a fast car and to be able to do all the right things with adjustments and strategy and pit stops and all that stuff and be out front and win is two different things, so it’s just — I’m thankful to be part of this group, and it’s just honestly doesn’t really seem real that we won yet today,” Kenseth told reporters after the victory.
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff believes that Kenseth doesn’t give himself enough credit for getting around the one mile track located in Loudon. “This is one of those weekends that I felt like we unloaded strong off the truck, and any time you can do that, typically it’s going to be a good weekend for you. We ran pretty good here in the first race a few months ago, and I felt like we were — we came back and we were able to take what we learned there and apply the things that we felt like we could do better, and it proved to be successful this weekend, obviously. I don’t think Matt gives himself enough credit around this place. One thing you have to do really well, I think, to win a race here is you have to be exceptional at restarts, and track position is huge, especially when most of the guys are going to have either old left sides or old right side tires, and it makes it difficult to get going, and aero is a big deal, as well. His restarts were exceptional today, and I think that was one of the keys that got us a victory.”
Ryan Newman won the Coors Light Pole Award on Friday and led the field to the green flag. After two laps he was over taken by Kasey Kahne, who started second.
Pit strategy worked Martin Truex, Jr. up to the top spot on lap 36, which he then led the next 73 laps. He looked like on his way to a great performance despite his sponsor NAPA announcing they would leave the Michael Waltrip Racing team at the close of the year. The handle would go away from his car and he would finish in the 10th position.
After being out with broken ribs, Bobby Labonte made his first race in about a month’s time frame. His day was ruined after a left rear tire when on his Toyota, he slowed on the track, and was hit by Kevin Swindell. Swindell, making his Sprint Cup Series debut, and Labonte were able to continue after repairs, but was not the days either driver was hoping.
Kenseth, Truex, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. all swapped the lead from lap 114 through lap 202. Jeff Gordon got up there to lead 35 laps, but a pit road miscue hampered his day, and he finished 15th.
The other big incident of the day was when Kahne got loose coming out of the fourth corner and hit the inside wall. Initially it appeared that Kahne was shook up during the accident, but the team made repairs and he went back out there. Kahne finished 37th and dropped to 13th in the driver standings.
After the restart on lap 257 Kenseth was able to get a good jump ahead of his teammate Kyle Busch and cruise to the win by 0.533 seconds. Busch had just cleared lap traffic and was catching Kenseth when he ran out of laps. When asked after the race, Busch replied that he was “glad we didn’t get to him,” which means we would have seen one heck of a race for the win that maybe there wouldn’t have been good manners out of the teammates.
With the victory Kenseth continues to lead the driver standings by 14 points over Kyle Busch. Jimmie Johnson sits third, 18 points behind, with Carl Edwards (36), and Greg Biffle (-38) rounding out the top-5.
Next up is the AAA 400 from the Dover International Speedway. Coverage of the event begins at 1 PM EST and can be seen on ESPN.
|1||9||20||Matt Kenseth||Home Depot Husky||Toyota||300||$262,066||Running||106||48|
|2||12||18||Kyle Busch||M&M’s Peanut Butter||Toyota||300||$210,143||Running||0||42|
|3||10||16||Greg Biffle||3M Ford Fusion||Ford||300||$146,585||Running||0||41|
|6||17||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Time Warner Cable||Chevrolet||300||$115,835||Running||17||39|
|7||29||55||Brian Vickers||Aaron’s Dream Machine||Toyota||300||$105,235||Running||0||0|
|10||5||56||Martin Truex Jr||NAPA Auto Parts||Toyota||300||$135,060||Running||98||35|
|11||20||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite||Ford||300||$140,826||Running||2||34|
|12||14||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Ground||Toyota||300||$105,785||Running||0||32|
|13||4||78||Kurt Busch||Furniture Row||Chevrolet||300||$115,830||Running||0||31|
|14||6||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil||Ford||300||$115,668||Running||1||31|
|15||3||24||Jeff Gordon||Drive to End Hunger||Chevrolet||300||$131,696||Running||36||30|
|16||1||39||Ryan Newman||Quicken Loans||Chevrolet||300||$128,693||Running||2||29|
|17||16||15||Clint Bowyer||5-Hour Energy||Toyota||300||$124,793||Running||5||28|
|19||15||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Target/Gillette||Chevrolet||300||$112,574||Running||0||25|
|22||7||27||Paul Menard||Menards / Sylvania||Chevrolet||300||$114,451||Running||0||22|
|23||18||14||Mark Martin||Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops||Chevrolet||300||$127,660||Running||0||21|
|24||31||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Zest||Ford||300||$130,471||Running||0||20|
|26||35||83||David Reutimann||Burger King / Dr. Pepper||Toyota||300||$99,593||Running||0||18|
|28||30||93||Travis Kvapil||Burger King / Dr. Pepper||Toyota||300||$104,968||Running||0||16|
|29||19||34||David Ragan||Taco Bell||Ford||299||$102,193||Running||0||15|
|30||27||51||Michael McDowell||SEM Products||Chevrolet||297||$100,832||Running||0||14|
|31||38||7||Dave Blaney||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Chevrolet||297||$79,085||Running||0||13|
|32||43||35||Josh Wise||The Pete Store||Ford||297||$78,810||Running||0||0|
|33||37||36||J.J. Yeley||United Mining Equipment||Chevrolet||296||$78,585||Running||1||12|
|34||32||40||Landon Cassill||Moon Shine Attitude Attire||Chevrolet||296||$78,385||Running||0||0|
|36||42||32||Timmy Hill||U.S. Chrome||Ford||293||$77,955||Running||0||8|
|37||2||5||Kasey Kahne||Great Clips||Chevrolet||278||$103,241||Running||31||8|
|38||33||30||Kevin Swindell||Genny Light||Toyota||244||$72,675||Running||0||0|
|39||24||38||David Gilliland||Long John Silver’s||Ford||239||$68,675||Accident||0||5|
|40||28||47||Bobby Labonte||Bush’s Beans||Toyota||161||$72,675||Accident||0||4|
|41||39||33||Tony Raines||Little Joe’s Autos.com||Chevrolet||128||$60,675||Brakes||0||0|
|42||41||98||Johnny Sauter||Phil Parsons Racing||Ford||103||$56,675||Brakes||0||0|
|43||40||95||Scott Riggs||Leavine Family Racing||Ford||92||$53,175||Brakes||0||1|