Matt Kenseth Rides Wind To Victory At Kansas Speedway
For the first 13 years of full-time racing at the highest level of NASCAR, Matt Kenseth drove for Jack Roush as his principal car owner. In year 14, Kenseth now pilots a car for Joe Gibbs Racing and the move is paying dividends.
Kenseth started from the pole and led 163 laps while holding off a hard-charging Kasey Kahne at bay for his second win of the season during a windswept STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. Kenseth won 24 races and a championship with the “Cat in The Cat” over those years, but with a couple checkered flags so far this season, Kenseth could be a seriously flirting with a second title.
Rounding out the top 5 was Jimmie Johnson followed by Martin Truex, Jr. and Clint Bowyer. Kenseth actually could have led more circuits except for some timely cautions that allowed others to rise to the top of the grid because of pit strategy. In fact, NASCAR whipping boy Brad Keselowski got early damage that needed extra mending in the pits that put him a lap down. A series of cautions eventually broke the right way and the Blue Deuce was somehow in second place during the middle portion of the race. The defending champ nursed home a 6th place run that will help build a points cushion in case NASCAR upholds the penalties levied this week against Penske Racing.
Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano was not so fortunate. Luck ran out as Logano met rudely with last week’s winner Kyle Busch off the exit of turn 2 on lap 102. Both machines were disabled for the rest of the event miring Busch in 38th and Logano 39th. For Busch the younger who already has two wins, it’s a bump in the road. Logano however has seen his season turn from promising to perilous. Joey’s got some work to do if he wants to rebound from his current 20th place in the standings.
Speaking of the standings, the top 12 in points has an interesting composition. Three Hendrick machines reside in the top 5 with the 48 bunch on top of the stack with Kahne 2nd, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 5th. Keselowski rides 3rd (pending appeal) and Greg Biffle 4th. Carl Edwards returns to chase contention in 6th with Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer in the next three spots.
Paul Menard would appear to be a surprise in 10th place except when you realize that the Richard Childress Racing driver is one of eleven racers to score 4 top ten finishes this season. Number 11 is Ryan Newman who is Mr. Inconsistency to put it mildly who is 17th in the standings. Jamie McMurray at 11th and Kevin Harvick 12th round out the top dozen as the Sprint Cup Series heads to Richmond Inernational Raceway next Saturday night.