Matt Kenseth raced to his third NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season, winning in convincing fashion Sunday at Michigan international Speedway. Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top three in qualifying on Friday, with Matt Kenseth on the pole and Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards starting second and third.
Joe Gibbs has won championships and big-ticket races in NASCAR, but his team rarely has shown the kind of consistent domination his drivers have exhibited over the course of this summer. “But they just couldn’t do much once they got there, and they got down in the corner”.
“The thing that amazes me sometimes is the quick turn where you go the other way and so we’ve just got to keep working hard”, he said.
When the final restart came with 13 laps left, Harvick moved up to second, yet still couldn’t catch Kenseth.
Three weeks ago, when NASCAR visited Indianapolis, the sanctioning body tested out a new aerodynamic package that was to not reduce downforce, but rather increase the amount of drag from the cars. “You want everybody in your mirror”, Kenseth said. The high-drag aero package comes with a tail extension on the bottom of the car which seals more of the air underneath.
Austin Dillon: Raced Kenseth for the lead for a while, but fourth-place finish is best of his young career.
“I was pretty worried about that last one and Denny [Hamlin] gave me a nice push there and the TRD engine ran pretty good”, Kenseth said. “You really want to enjoy those”. He beat Jeff Gordon by. Dillon and Kenseth also traded the lead during a lap after a late restart. We didn’t do many adjustments that we…we haven’t run up there a lot and it’s hard to change a car that’s capable of staying up there. While some of those drivers accomplished all that and more, there were other drivers who failed miserably to make a statement in the final four races of the season.
The 2013 Brickyard 400 winner has plenty of experience in big races, having competed in 499 competitions in the last 16 years.
“We just fought a lot of things today”, Harvick said.
Before Sunday’s race, NASCAR required the Team Penske teams of Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski to change the front splitters on their two Fords, because those parts were dangerously close to the tolerances allowed in prerace inspection. Kyle Busch, who has four wins, is not guaranteed a Chase spot because he has not clinched a place in the top 30 in points.
With the help of astute pit strategy that got him to the front of the field, Austin Dillon got a taste of what it’s like to be a frontrunner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The victory came after he wrecked his Sprint Cup auto during a morning practice, and then was penalized on lap 27 of the Truck race for speeding on pit road.