Sunday, August 2, 2015

Kenseth Checks a Win at Pocono Off His List

Matt Kenseth celebrates his first fuel mileage win, Aug. 2, 2015.
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirt and Scuffs  
As the Windows 10 400 wound down, Joey Logano had not only led the most laps, but appeared to have the race win in sight. But with three laps to go, he ran out of fuel and gave up the lead to Kyle Busch, who was trying to sweep the weekend at Pocono. As Busch, too, succumbed to an empty tank, Matt Kenseth took both the helm and the checkered flag for his first career Sprint Cup win at the track.

Being on the winning end of a fuel mileage race was a new experience for Kenseth. He said he started saving fuel early in the run and crew chief Jason Ratcliff told him to keep it up, so he continued to conserve.

“That’s hard to not go as fast as you can in the last five or six laps. It’s tough to discipline yourself to do that,” Kenseth said.

He wanted to go full throttle, but Ratcliff held him back.

“I kept asking, and Jason kept telling me “no,” in no uncertain terms. I kept waiting for him to give me the green light … because I really wanted to pick up the pace and he was telling me there was no reason to, and he was absolutely right.”

When asked how many fuel mileage races there are among his 32 career wins, Kenseth smiled.

"Yeah, they actually include zero. Today’s the first. So I checked two things off the list. I won Pocono, that I didn’t think would ever happen, and I won a fuel mileage race, that I didn’t think would ever happen.”

For a track known for long green flag runs, Pocono surprised fans with a wreck-filled event. The race was barely underway when the first crash occurred. Kasey Kahne got loose exiting Turn 3 and slid down the track, across pit road and slammed into pit wall at the No. 47 pit stall.


Emergency personnel check on Kasey Kahne after his slide into pit wall at Pocono, Aug, 2, 2015.
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs



“I just got loose really late, so far off the corner. A really late exit,” Kahne said. “I’m not sure why or what happened. It just jumped out. You’re so far off the corner, to slow slide and get so far down pit road -- it was crazy.”

Kahne’s car was too damaged to continue and the field stopped on track under a red flag while track workers repaired pit wall.

A second accident happened when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rear-ended Sam Hornish Jr. in Turn 1.

Stenhouse described the incident: “I guess the 9 missed a shift or something and I wasn’t aware of it until the 35 or one of the other cars pulled out real quick and there was the 9 sitting there. By the time I reacted, it was just too late and I ran right into the back of him.”

Hornish Jr. was able to continue the run, but was involved in another crash. After being clipped by Paul Menard, Kurt Busch slid sideways down the track through the corner, then Hornish ran into him on the apron. Busch’s car continued despite a bent track bar and limped it home for 37th-place finish, while Hornish finished 39th.

Runaway tires plagued the race, with the No. 47 and No. 9 teams receiving penalties when tires rolled outside their pit stalls. The No. 2 team also sent a tire onto pit lane when Keselowski hit his jackman and front tire carrier during a pit stop, knocking the tire from the crewman’s grasp.

Trevor Bayne’s day ended on a strange note when the Advocare Ford hit debris dropped by another car.

“I was going into Turn 1, wide open on the frontstretch and the 7 car was in front of me and at the last second he darted and a tail pipe bounced up and went through the radiator," Bayne said. "So we lost water pressure and oil pressure and may have lost a Roush Yates engine here."

Kevin Harvick, who was among the fastest cars in both practices, blew an engine early. Despite the bad day, he leads the standings over Joey Logano by 46 points.

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