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Race Recap: Kenseth Bags #7 At New Hampshire

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NASCAR_Loudon_NSCS_92213_Kenseth_VL

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.

Fin St # Driver Sponsor Car Laps Money Status Led Pts
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
4 11 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Chevrolet 300 $160,796 Running 1 41
5 23 1 Jamie McMurray Linksys Chevrolet 300 $142,005 Running 0 39
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
8 25 31 Jeff Burton Cheerios Chevrolet 300 $102,535 Running 0 36
9 26 99 Carl Edwards Aflac Ford 300 $127,360 Running 0 35
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
18 22 9 Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford 300 $112,874 Running 0 26
19 15 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target/Gillette Chevrolet 300 $112,574 Running 0 25
20 8 29 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet 300 $130,046 Running 0 24
21 13 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 300 $121,746 Running 0 23
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
25 34 13 Casey Mears GEICO Ford 300 $110,443 Running 0 19
26 35 83 David Reutimann Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota 300 $99,593 Running 0 18
27 21 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet 300 $83,110 Running 0 17
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
35 36 87 Joe Nemechek TBA Toyota 296 $78,185 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