Matt Kenseth would lead Joe Gibbs Racing with a seventh-place finish in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Meanwhile separate accidents for Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers would leave them to finish 24th and 35th respectively.
Kenseth qualified his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota on the pole for the second consecutive week and for the second consecutive week he would also take his spot at the front of the field through the first quarter of the race. In fact, Kenseth would lead 94 of the first 100 laps. During a pit stop under caution on lap 112 NASCAR asked the 20 team to cut a small piece of metal off the car that was hanging by the right rear tire. The added work caused a slight delay leaving him to restart third. Kenseth would jump to second on the restart and hold that position through the midpoint of the race. The Dollar General Camry would regain its spot at the front of the field by lap 220. Kenseth would hold the lead until his teammate Busch managed to get around him on lap 254. The No. 20 Toyota would suddenly become tight through the center of the turns causing Kenseth to slip back to sixth until his crew could make adjustments to help it turn better again. That would come with just over 100 laps remaining when Kenseth would gain two spots on pit road and restart fourth. Unfortunately the outside lane for restarts proved problematic and he would fall back to seventh on the next run which fortunately was not long. Kenseth would come down pit road for four fresh tires and lined up ninth for the restart when several other cars elected to remain out on the track. Another caution just a few laps later would allow Kenseth to restart fourth with 57 laps to go. He would remain in the top five until a final caution set up a green white checker finish. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff made the call for four fresh tires which allowed Kenseth to restart eighth as several teams took no tires and others just two. It was a wild two-lap sprint to the finish and Kenseth managed to hang on for a solid seventh-place effort. His 140 laps led on the night led the field.