Matt Kenseth Wins at Kansas!
It was a dominating performance by Matt Kenseth, who won after starting from the pole and leading the most laps in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Kenseth earned his second win of the season and JGR’s fourth of the year, but his teammates were not able to fair as well with each of the team’s other three entries involved in an accident at some point of the race. Brian Vickers was able to finish several laps off in 31st, while Kyle Busch and Elliott Sadler each had their days ended early and finished 38th and 40th respectively.
Kenseth qualified his No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota on the pole and kept the top spot for the first 74 laps of the race. He would only temporarily give up that lead position for a single lap while pitting and was able to regain the lead for another 36 laps. Kenseth would be running fourth when crew chief Jason Ratcliff had him bring the No. 20 Camry down pit road for a two-tire stop following a caution lap 175. Several cars would make the call to remain out on the track and Kenseth would drop back to 11th. He would restart eighth with 80 laps to go and was able to jump up all the way into third on the first lap and then took second just two laps later. He would regain the lead with 51 laps to go and a caution would come out just a lap later. He would pit one last time with 46 laps remaining and the Home Depot Husky crew would keep the 20 car in the lead with a great two-tire stop. Kenseth would hold the lead through the restart and then held off the No. 5 car to the finish for his second win of the season. It was the second week in a row that JGR had a car start from the pole and then go on to win the race. Kenseth led four different times for a total of 163 laps.
Vickers continued to fill in for an injured Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota and would take the green flag from the 16th position. He would work his way toward the top 10 over the course of the first third of the race and would battle inside the top 15 through the midpoint of the race. The FedEx crew would continue to make adjustments to help the No. 11 Camry turn better and it appeared it was working as Vickers began to gain position, but he would get loose and up into the wall coming out of turn 2 on lap 174. The damage to the right side of the FedEx Freight Camry was significant and Vickers would fall several laps off the pace. He would manage to finish, but was scored back in 31st position.
Busch, who won from the pole a week ago in Texas, qualified the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota in fifth, but an early spin on lap 6 would bring out a caution and send him to the back of the field to restart 43rd. Busch would fight his way back up in the field while battling a car that was a bit unpredictable in handling. He would spin again on lap 104 and this time he would come down the track and head on into Joey Logano in the No. 22 car resulting in a major wreck that took both out of the race. Busch would be scored in 38th.
Sadler ran a fourth entry with Joe Gibbs Racing for the new Alert Energy Gum product. He would qualify the No. 81 Alert Energy Toyota 24th, but felt as if he had a tire going down on the opening run of the day. He would come out of the pits for a restart in 32nd following the first round of stops. Sadler continued to battle handling conditions on the Alert Energy Toyota and contact with the wall on lap 85 would cause severe damage to his Camry. Unfortunately the car would not be able to be repaired and Sadler would finish back in 40th.
Matt Kenseth won the race, followed by Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex, Jr. and Clint Bowyer. There were eight cautions for a total of 40 laps and 13 lead changes among eight different drivers.