MENCS News

NSCS: Matt Kenseth Claims Checkers at New Hampshire, Fails Post-Race Inspection

on

Matt Kenseth didn’t have the dominate car Sunday in the New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but that didn’t stop him from making a late-race charge and claiming the checkered flag. Kenseth started 18th and worked his way through the field to claim his second straight victory at Loudon, and 38th career victory.

“You’re always pleased to be in Victory Lane,” said Kenseth. “The farther down the road you get, the better they feel for sure. Thanks to everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing – I’ve said it a million times, but I’m blessed with this opportunity to be over here with the guys I get to work with.

“(Crew chief) Jason (Ratcliff) and the team made great, great adjustments today. I didn’t do a very good job qualifying (18th), (but) after round one (of pit stops) today, it was pretty much money. We just had to get there. It was a fun day.”

Ratcliff’s comments about the day weren’t far off of Kenseth’s post-race.

“Early on, it wasn’t responding the way we anticipated it would,” said Ratcliff. “But after the first stop, it came around and we had really good speed the rest of the day.”

As other cars started to fade off, Kenseth’s No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry made a late race surge to victory.

Kenseth made his move on the lap 270 restart as he restarted on the inside row due to his JGR teammate Denny Hamlin taking the outside lane after electing to not pit and stay out on track.

“I felt OK about getting past Denny,” Kenseth said. “But it’s not easy here restarting on the bottom. The outside guy tends to crowd you a little bit, which he should. Then you get down there on the flat, it’s really easy to chatter the rear tires and lose momentum. I’ve had that happen here before and gotten passed by four cars off Turn 2.”

New rubber ultimately won the restart Radcliff called for fresh right side tires. By turn 3, Kenseth had enough momentum to get on the inside of Hamlin and take the lead.

Despite three yellow flags during the final 27 laps of the race, Kenseth relinquished the lead.

Kenseth’s win may become bittersweet later this week as his car failed post-race inspection. NASCAR will take the No. 20 machine back to the research and developmental center in North Carolina.

Kenseth, who now has 2 wins on the season, and currently 8th in the points standings, is just about guaranteed to be one of the 16 drivers in the NASCAR Chase playoff’s come September when the series returns to NHMS.

“I’ve got to be 100 percent honest, I haven’t spent two seconds thinking about the Chase,” Kenseth said. “I just haven’t. I think these are all big races.”

One of the other highlights of the race was the way Alex Bowman ran as the replacement driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who sat out of New Hampshire due to concussion like symptoms.

Bowman’s finish at Loudon doesn’t do justice to how the young driver was running. Bowman was poised to have his first Sprint Cup Series top 10 finish in his 72nd start before a flat tire did the No. 88 in while working turn 1at lap 272. Bowman immediately returned to the track but was 25th with 24 laps remaining, he ultimately finished 26th.

Bowman had nothing but praise for team owner Rick Hendrick and Crew Chief Greg Ives after the race.

“It was amazing,” he told NBCSN after the race. “I can’t thank Hendrick Motorsports and all these guys enough. They took me to my worse racetrack by far, and made me look good. I’ve just got to thank Mr. H. I had such an amazing time. Everybody, Greg and all the guys, were so welcoming. I hate the circumstances and really hope Dale is feeling well, but I had so much fun today.”

Tony Stewart went on to finish second, his third top five in the past four races. Joey Logano finished third, as Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle round out the top-five.

Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards both clinched Chase spots at New Hampshire.

Busch led a race high 133 laps, while Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., in the No. 78, led 123 laps.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Sarah Handy

Sarah is going into her third year covering NASCAR for Rubbings Racing as well as helping run their Social Media platforms. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Sarah is an avid racing fan as well as a fan of the major New England sports teams. She is currently studying Public Relations and Marketing at SNHU with plans to move to North Carolina after graduation. Sarah also enjoys visiting her home track of NHMS each year, reading, running and photography.

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *