Kenseth Fabulous In Phoenix
November 11, 2006 | 6:00 P.M. EST
Kenseth held off Kevin Harvick on a green-white-checkered finish to win Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Arizona Travel 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
After starting from the pole, Kenseth was able to battle back late in the race to get back to the top spot and fought off a couple of charges from Harvick in the closing laps.
Restarts were key to Kenseth's win with the final one proving to be the difference between winning and losing.
"The restart before that I had all messed up," Kenseth said. "The 1 car was a lap down. He was trying to put me in third groove. I got slowed down way back in turn 3 and got everybody jumbled up. On the last one I went earlier then I did the time before but I still thought I was within a car length or two of the line."
Harvick wound up coming one spot short of tying Sam Ard for the Busch Series season victory record of ten.
The runnerup wasn't exactly thrilled with Kenseth's last restart strategy, feeling the eventual winner accelerated before the red restart line.
"He knew that we were better on the restarts then he was," Harvick said. "He just took off probably 10 or 15 car lengths early."
"What ‘the vicinity of the red line’ means I guess depends on who is sitting in the tower,” Harvick said. “It was one of those typical NASCAR calls at the end of the race. If it had been us, we’d be sitting on pit road. That’s pretty embarrassing.”
Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards rounded out the Top 5.
J.J. Yeley, Reed Sorenson, Shane Huffman, Ron Hornaday and Kyle Busch completed the first ten finishers.
Despite the Top 10 finishes, it could have been a better day for both Bowyer, who was leading th erace with less than 30 laps remaining, and Huffman.
Bowyer and Huffman had trouble on pit road during the final stop under caution flag number eight. Bowyer's AC Delco Chevy came to a halt on an air hose, costing valuable time. Huffman's crew had problems tightening lug nuts after a tire chance.
Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish, Jr. made his NASCAR debut, but got caught up in a late race accident and finished 36th.
"I never said this was going to be easy," Hornish said. "We missed on the setup and didn't have it right from the beginning. We had too much push in the car. If you can't get on the throttle coming down the frontstretch, you aren't going to make up anything. As far as what the car needs, that's the hardest thing right now; to be able to get the car to run over the long run."
The Busch Series wraps up its season next Saturday with the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.