Kenseth Masters 'Magic Mile' Again
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on July 17, 2016 | 4:40 P.M. EST
Kenseth is the only repeat winner in the last 14 races at New Hampshire. (Photo: Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth scored his second consecutive win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Sunday's New Hampshire 301.
Kenseth followed up his NHMS win last September by taking his second win of the season. It was Kenseth’s third New Hampshire win and the 38th of his Sprint Cup career.
“You’re always pleased to be in Victory Lane,” Kenseth said. “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 and my great sponsors.”
Tony Stewart got around Joey Logano with only a handful of laps to go and finished second.
“The chemistry of this team is really what’s driving things,” Stewart said. “The car came to us in the end like we’d hoped and we got a good finish out of it.”
Logano, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle rounded out the top five.
“I will take a third place after all that,” Logano said. “We were awful at the beginning of the race. We tried some new things and apparently they didn’t work so we aborted mission in the middle of the race and got some speed back in the 22 but not enough to beat the 20 (Kenseth).”
Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the first 10 finishers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for next Sunday afternoon’s Brickyard 400.
How Kenseth Won: He had to battle back from an early pit stop when he lost ground but Kenseth methodically worked his way to the front of the field. Kenseth muscled around JGR teammate Denny Hamlin with 30 laps to go and on the final restart with only 11 laps remaining, he pulled away from the field and comfortably took the checkered flag.
Who Else Had a Good Day: Stewart has now finished inside the top 10 in four of his last five races...Logano scored his fifth top-five finish in his last six races…Biffle scored his third straight top-10 performance - he had only three in his previous 50 series starts.
Who Had a Bad Day: Martin Truex Jr.’s season of bad luck continued on Sunday. Despite leading 123 laps, the Furniture Row Racing driver was sidelined trying for his second win of the season when a shifter broke followed by a clutch failure…Chase Elliott’s last race at Kentucky ended in an accident and his day at New Hampshire wasn’t much better when he cut a tire to finish 34th…Alex Bowman filled in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is suffering from concussion-like symptoms, and he had a good day going running as high as eighth. But he too cut a tire after contact with another car and hit the wall sending him to a 26th-place finish.
What Else Happened: Kyle Busch dominated the first half of the race but things changed in the second. Truex Jr. looked as if he’d run away and hide when he got the top spot but his issues opened the door for others including Kenseth, who once he got to the lead was basically unchallenged.
Quote of the Day: “There's no way we win a championship like this unless they straighten some of this stuff out," Kevin Harvick frustrated by pit stop mistakes.
Notables: Toyota drivers led all but two laps on Sunday….Earnhardt Jr. is now 16th on the Chase grid and 14 points ahead of the cut off…New Hampshire was the third straight race Hendrick Motorsports failed to place a driver inside the top 10.
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