Sunday, October 21, 2012

NSCS Race Recap: Kenseth prevails admist record-breaking caution fest in Kansas

Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Zest Ford, captured the checkered flag by beating second-place finisher Martin Truex Jr. by 0.495 seconds across the finish line amidst a record-breaking 14 cautions at Kansas Speedway. This was his 24th victory in 488 Cup races, first victory and eighth top-10 finish at the track. Today’s victory also ties him with Kurt and Kyle Busch on the all-time series wins list with 26 victories.

The newly paved racetrack was indeed the primary host of the “wildcard race” and showcased how unpredictable things could get throughout this 267-lap event. There was never a dull moment throughout the high-octane, caution-filled competitive day in the “Land of Oz.”

Race winner Matt Kenseth attributes divine intervention and a lot of luck to his successful finish today in Kansas. “Some of the stuff we dodged was good fortune, not being around it. That one wreck where I guess Kyle spun out, we were pretty close to that one. I think it was Kyle, first time he spun. Really close to that one and go through it … It was tricky. Early in the race, Jimmie Johnson helped me. He didn't know he helped me but he did. We ran him down fast, got underneath him and he held me really tight. My car was so loose I could hardly control it, I honestly thought I was going to wipe him out four or five times. We ran ten laps like that. Finally got by me and couldn't get a pass. That taught me a lot about how hard it was going to drive underneath cars, where I wanted to be on restarts, which was outside, kind of what to expect.”

Martin Truex Jr. was satisfied with his consecutive second-place finishes at this race track considering the type of car that he had to contend with throughout the day. “Well, it’s a lot different mood after this one too. After the first one I was disappointed. We got track position early. We got up towards the top five and we had a strong car – a little bit tight. Then we got caught out by that caution deal and had to go all the way to the back. Just tough to pass, so it was a battle all day long. Proud of the guys on the NAPA Toyota – they never gave up. Just kept digging all day long. That’s a good run for us, for sure. Just a little bit too tight there at the end there to run with Matt. A good run and we’ll go on to Martinsville.”

Third-place finisher Paul Menard was happy with his position crossing the start/finish line, especially with having his crew chief back on top of the pit box. “We had Slugger back this weekend. He is well-rested after six weeks off, and had some good ideas to try this weekend. Our Rheem Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series was probably the best car yesterday. And our CertainTeed/Menards today was good too. It’s a game of track position and we had a good car. It was just a matter of getting us up there and having good pit stops and gained track position. Once we got up there, we just couldn't hang on.”

The drivers who finished out the top ten were Kahne, Stewart, Bowyer, Smith, Keselowski, Johnson and Gordon.

Race Cautions:
  1. Debris (Laps 32-36)
  2. No. 18, Turn 4 spin (Lap 41-44)
  3. No. 51, Turn 3 accident (Lap 72-76)
  4. No. 14 & No. 31, Turn 4 accident (Lap 84-86)
  5. Debris (Lap 123-127)
  6. No. 48, Turn 4 accident (Lap 137-141)
  7. No. 47, Turn 3 accident (Lap 143-146)
  8. Nos. 10 & 83, Turn 2 accident (Lap 156-162)
  9. No. 14, Backstretch spin (Lap 166-168)
  10. Nos. 9 & 21, Turn 3 accident (Lap 170-172)
  11. No. 16, Turn 4 accident (Lap 176-180)
  12. Nos. 18, 22, 39 & 78, Turn 4 accident (Lap 183-188)
  13. No. 43, Turn 4 accident (Lap 215-222)
  14. No. 22, Turn 1 accident (Lap 237-239)
Race Highlights:
  • 16 lead changes with 10 different leaders – Kenseth (78), Almirola (69), Martin (60), Johnson (44), Menard (6), Bowyer (5), Gordon (2), Kahne (1), Gilliand (1) and Kvapil (1)
  • Nine of the top-10 finishers were 2012 Chase contenders
  • Five-time Cup champion Johnson rebounding to finish ninth after his hard contact with the wall
  • Keselowski leads the points standings by seven over Johnson.
Unofficial Race Results: click here.

Unofficial Driver’s Standings, click here.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be heading to Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 28) and the race will be broadcast on ESPN at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Unique Hiram is an Associate Editor/Contributing Writer/Media Rep for Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, she is also the author of "Fast Lane Poetry," which was published April 2011. Unique can be contacted via email or through Twitter.


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