Busch’s team discovered a transmission leak and so the team’s transmission specialist was flown to New Hampshire to fix the problem Sunday morning…. Chase drivers took eight of the top 10 spots.
“I was giving Kevin everything I had”, Kenseth said. They did a great job all weekend. He would have the burden of saving fuel over the final green-flag run, and knowing that he was a bit short.
“You never know what another competitor’s situation is”, said Ratcliff.
Right now, Joe Gibbs racing is on a roll.
“The No. 4 vehicle was so fast and Denny was in front of me so I thought a third place would be good and then I though ‘no way, I have to win this thing, ‘” he said. “Yeah, our cars finished 1-2, but I’m not sure that we had 1-2 cars most of the day. It feels good”. Being in a points hole from last weekend’s run-in with Jimmie Johnson, he desperately needed a quiet top five finish to move back into a range where he could feel comfortable entering the first cut-off race at Dover. “If anything showed we were taking a chance, we would have pitted”. “It was a blue collar day. He had the better auto”.
The gamble backfired. Harvick ran out of gas, and now he is nearly out of chances to defend his Sprint Cup title. He will nearly surely have to win next week at Dover – where he is 0-for-29 – to reach the second round. Carl Edwards swept the pole from New Hampshire this season and finished fifth. On Lap 20, he was passed by Harvick.
Hamlin finished second, 8.941 seconds behind Kenseth. The impact bent-in the bodywork of Edwards’ vehicle.
Matt Kenseth, who was closing in on Harvick’s tail for several of the final laps, was able to cruise to victory lane. The reigning Sprint Cup champion was in control of the race, having led it for 216 of the 300-lap total distance, when disaster struck with two laps to go. Keselowski came in for a stop and go on lap 249 he reentered 25th on the lead lap.
Harvick retook the lead with just under 50 laps to go.
Kenseth’s win gives him a pass to the next Chase for the Championship round.
With 62, there another crash and another caution. Greg Biffle took the lead for the restart. Brad Keselowski was penalized on a restart and finished 12th.
“It’s a pretty basic understanding”, Keselowski said.
“It’s an entertainment sport, not a fair sport”, Keselowski said. The Miller Lite Penske Team was really strong. “But we knew that he possibly couldn’t make it, based on our count”. “I’ve got to be honest, I haven’t really thought about the points or Chase or anything”.
That put Harvick second behind Biffle. Harvick was left high and very dry when his auto slowed on Lap 298.
Harvick was out of gas with three laps left in the Sylvania 300. Kenseth is now along Denny Hamlin who have moved on to Round Two for the Contender Round. Joey Logano, +33 5. Carl Edwards, +33 points on 13th 3. Jeff Gordon, +12 11. Martin Truex Jr., +15 10. Ryan Newman, +18 7. Earnhardt followed to take over fourth from Kurt Busch two laps later.
(29) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 299, $112735.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 58 Mins, 51 Secs.
(30) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 299, $115823. Kenseth was first off pit road, Johnson was second, Logano third, Earnhardt fourth, Clint Bowyer fifth and Stewart sixth.
(35) Matt DiBenedetto #, Toyota, 297, $93637. Patrick spun out and was collected in a hard impact by Michael Waltrip Racing’s David Ragan, doing terminal damage to both the #10 and the #55.
(15) Aric Almirola, Ford, Accident, 35, $91091. He was shown the black flag on lap 245.
Second to Kenseth in the standings, six points out of the Chase lead, Hamlin also acknowledged JGR’s good fortune on Sunday.