Kenseth Back in Victory Lane

Matt Kenseth

"Everybody dreams of going out a winner." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Matt Kenseth captured his first win of the season in Sunday's Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway while Brad Keselowski advanced to the Championship 4 with a 16th-place finish.
 
Kenseth got by Chase Elliott in the late going to score his first win of the season and 39th of his career. He ended a 51-race winless streak.
 
It was emotional win for Kenseth who does not have a ride in 2018 and will end his tenure at Joe Gibbs Racing next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the season finale.
 
“I don’t know what to say except for thank the Lord,” Kenseth said fighting back tears. “Had an amazing journey. I know I’m a big baby right now. Just got one race left. Everybody dreams of going out a winner. We won today. No one can take that from us. It was a heck of a race with Chase there. Golly, thanks to DeWalt, Circle K, Toyota, all our sponsors and (JGR) for a great five years. It’s been quite a journey.”
 
Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.
 
“At some point I’ve got to figure out how to close better,” said a dejected Elliott after his second-place finish and missing a chance to run for the championship next week. (Read More)
 
Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Aric Almirola and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the top 10 finishers.
 
Keselowski joins Truex Jr., Harvick and Kyle Busch in next week’s Championship 4 field. (Read More)
 
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wraps up the 2017 season next Sunday with the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
 
How Kenseth Won: He got around Chase Elliott with nine laps to go and never looked back on his way to the checkered flag. 
 
Who Had a Good Day: Keselowski took advantage of Denny Hamlin’s disappointing day to finish the race where he needed to be and locked up the last spot in the Championship 4 next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway…Harvick finished in the top 10 in the last nine races at Phoenix, tied for the second longest streak ever at the track…Stenhouse Jr. finished in the top 10 in both Phoenix races this season.
 
Who Had a Bad Day: Hamlin was in position to be able to point his way to the last Championship 4 berth thanks to his stage finishes and was able to erase the deficit he had to Keselowski coming into the weekend. But it all went out the window when after a hard fought battle with Elliott for position that included several incidents of contact between the two, a cut tire sent Hamlin into the wall and out of the race as well as the title picture (Read More)…It was a similar situation for Jimmie Johnson, who saw his hopes of running for an eighth title next week in Miami also end thanks to a cut tire and trip into the wall…Kyle Larson’s string of bad luck continued with another DNF when he had an engine failure early in the race despite being one of the fastest cars on track. (Read More)
 
What Else Happened: The opening two stages were relatively quiet but that certainly changed in the final stage. The track widened out and drivers had several options to get around the one-mile track. The drama of the playoff race and the tight racing added up to a very entertaining finish that locked in next week’s Championship 4 field in Miami.
 
Quotable: "I want to make them proud someday," Elliott about his fans after failing to win and transfer to the Championship 4 field.
 
Notable: Elliott scored his seventh runner-up finish…Jones had his fifth top-five finish of 2017…Kenseth scored JGR’s eight win of the season.

 

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