Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kenseth Holds off Kahne at Bristol

Originally written for CLNS Radio

Matt Kenseth held off a hard charge from Kasey Kahne late in the race to win the Irwin Tools Night Race from Bristol Motor Speedway.  

John Harrelson/Getty Images
Kenseth had to deal with a hard-charging Kahne over the last 15 laps.  Kahne caught up to Kenseth when he got caught up behind lapped traffic, but Kenseth was able to hold him off for the rest of the race.
Kenseth had messed up earlier in the race, and he said he was glad to overcome his mistakes.  

"It had just enough gas to hold on, just enough tires," Kenseth told ESPN.  "I messed up, but we were able to overcome that."

The win was Kenseth's fifth of the season.  Kenseth was strong earlier in the season, but he had seemed off for the past few weeks.  Kenseth said he hopes this win means his team is back.

"I hope we're back," said Kenseth.  "We led a lot of laps earlier this year, but not so much these last few weeks."

Denny Hamlin started the race on the pole, and he led the first 23 laps before Kurt Busch took the lead. 
The night's first caution came out on lap 40 when Ryan Truex hit the outside wall in his Sprint Cup Series debut.  Kurt Busch led the field back to the green flag on lap 47.  Carl Edwards worked his way around Busch to take the lead on lap 77, and he led until the second caution came out on lap 89 for Josh Wise, who hit the outside wall.

The race restarted on lap 97, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the leader after taking two tires under the caution.  The next caution came out just ten laps later, when Joey Logano and Kyle Busch got together.  

Earnhardt led when the race went back green on lap 112, but Clint Bowyer chased him down to take the lead on lap 127.  Bowyer was leading when he got spun by Travis Kvapil to bring out the fourth caution of the race.  In the aftermath of the accident, Bobby Labonte spun into Bowyer's car while it was sitting on the apron of the track.  

Carl Edwards led the field back to the green flag on lap 185.  The fifth caution of the race came out on lap 201 when Tony Raines hit the wall.  Edwards was the leader when the green flag flew on lap 209, and he held on until lap 240, when Kenseth took the lead for the first time of the night.

The sixth caution of the night came out for debris, and Paul Menard led the field to the green flag on lap 266 after he stayed out under the caution.  Edwards worked his way around Menard for the lead on lap 322.  The seventh caution of the night came out on lap 333 when David Gilliland and Labonte got together.  

During the pit stops, Kevin Harvick took two tires, and he was the leader when the green flag came out on lap 343.  Edwards took the lead again on lap 345.  The eighth caution came out when Brian Vickers spun David Reutimann on lap 358.  The incident also collected Jimmie Johnson.  

Edwards led again when the green flag came back out on lap 368.  Kenseth worked his way around Edwards for the lead on lap 275, at the same time that Jeff Burton spun to bring out another caution. 

Under the caution, Edwards was complaining of his car sputtering while driving around the track.  When the green flag came out on lap 382, Kenseth pulled away from Edwards as he quickly fell through the field.  Edwards' engine started to blow up, and he took his car to the garage on lap 389.

On lap 440, the caution came out for debris.  Kenseth restarted in first on lap 447, but the race didn't stay green for long.  Vickers and Hamlin got together going down the straightaway, and it cut down Hamlin's tire going into the corner.  Hamlin got into Ryan Newman, causing a chain-reaction wreck that collected Martin Truex Jr., Ken Schrader, Brad Keselowski, Casey Mears, and Harvick.

The race restarted on lap 456, and Kenseth held off a late-charge from Kahne to win the Irwin Tools Night Race.

Here are the unofficial results:

1. Matt Kenseth
2. Kasey Kahne
3. Juan Pablo Montoya
4. Brian Vickers
5. Joey Logano
6. Paul Menard
7. Jeff Gordon
8. Marcos Ambrose
9. Greg Biffle
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
11. Kyle Busch
12. David Ragan
13. Jeff Burton
14. Clint Bowyer
15. Aric Almirola
16. Travis Kvapil
17. David Stremme
18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
19. Jamie McMurray
20. Mark Martin
21. Ryan Newman
22. Dave Blaney
23. Landon Cassill
24. J.J. Yeley
25. David Gilliland
26. Danica Patrick
27. Ken Schrader
28. Denny Hamlin
29. David Reutimann
30. Brad Keselowski
31. Kurt Busch
32. Tony Raines
33. Casey Mears
34. Kevin Harvick
35. Martin Truex Jr.
36. Jimmie Johnson
37. Josh Wise
38. Bobby Labonte
39. Carl Edwards
40. Scott Speed
41. Michael McDowell
42. Ryan Truex
43. Joe Nemechek
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a special Sunday night race on labor day weekend.  The Advocare 500 will start at 7:30 p.m. EST, and can be seen only on ESPN.

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