Kenseth Survives a Caution Fest for his Second Chase Win

Photo – Getty Images

A record setting day with a track all-time caution record of fourteen, occurred Sunday afternoon at the Kansas Speedway.

Fourteen cautions at Kansas was also the most in any race this season.

Matt Kenseth was slightly involved in an incident, but Kenseth still came out on top. Kenseth struggled early in the Chase, putting him behind in the point standings. Now with two wins, he still sits far back in the Chase standings.

Many Chasers experienced troubles today but the points were only slightly affected.

Pole-sitter Kasey Kahne couldn’t even hold the lead for one lap, as Mark Martin quickly got around Kahne to lead the first lap.

Aric Almirola had a very strong car for much of the afternoon and took the lead for the first time on lap seven.

The first caution of the day came out on lap 31 for the No.13 of Casey Mears who blew a tire and hit the turn two wall hard. That type of incident occurred all race long.

There was also a very rare occurrence on the restart, with three non-Chasers leading the race. With all Chase drivers competing for a championship, to see none of them in the top three at this point in the race is very rare.

Running second at the time, Kyle Busch brought out the second caution of the day when he spun off turn four.

A.J Allmendinger brought out the third caution of the day when he blew his tire and hit the turn three wall hard. Allmendinger had been running in the top five up until that point.

Jimmie Johnson beat Aric Almirola off pit road to gain the lead for the first time in the race.

The fourth yellow-flag of the day came out on lap 83 for Jeff Burton who hit the wall in turn four after slight contact with Tony Stewart. The contact got Burton loose and he slapped the wall.

Jimmie Johnson pitted from the lead on lap 119 to start the cycle of green-flag pit stops and he handed the lead over to Aric Almirola.

The fifth caution of the day came out on lap 122 for leader Aric Almirola, who got into the wall coming off of turn four. Almirola had little damage and eventually made his way back to the front.

Last week’s winner Clint Bowyer was the new leader on the restart.

Matt Kenseth took his first lead of the afternoon on lap 128.

At the halfway mark of the race, there were almost twice as many cautions than in the April Kansas race. The new Kansas surface proved to be exciting and tough to maneuver throughout the race.

Kenseth led, followed by Bowyer, Biffle, Gordon and Menard.

A potentially devastating blow to Jimmie Johnson’s championship hopes occurred on lap 135. Johnson got loose in turn four and backed into the wall. Johnson never went to the garage and his team repaired the back end of the car under the caution. Johnson had been running very well up until this point.

Not even one lap after the restart, trouble struck again. Bobby Labonte wrecked in turn three after slight contact with David Gilliland. Labonte spun up the track and backed into the outside wall. Labonte brought his car to the garage and ended his day.

The eighth yellow-flag of the day appeared on lap 155 for Danica Patrick and Landon Cassill. Cassill and Patrick had been running roughly around the track for quite a few laps and Danica didn’t lay off Cassill’s bumper, going into turn two. Cassill and Patrick spun and when Danica tried to save her car, she took a hard right turn into the outside wall. Patrick suffered a lot of damage and Cassill got away with minimal damage. Danica’s crew chief Greg Zipadelli told her after the incident that “you (Danica) know better than that.” Patrick said in an interview that she had to “stand up for myself or everybody is going to do it (race rough with her).”

On the restart Mark Martin moved to the lead.

The ninth caution of the race came out on lap 165 for Tony Stewart who spun down the backstretch. Stewart managed not to hit anything and continue the race.

The tenth yellow-flag waved with 99 laps to go for Trevor Bayne and Marcos Ambrosem who drove into turn three hard and then he tried to slow up but he moved up and got into Trevor Bayne, turning them both into the outside wall.

On the ensuing restart, Aric Almirola spun down the backstretch, while battling Mark Martin for the lead. No caution came out and the race continued.

Chaser Greg Biffle had his day go down the drain when he wrecked off turn four. Biffle got loose coming off turn four and then slapped the wall hard, then spun through the infield grass, leaving Biffle to take his No.16 car behind the wall.

The twelfth caution of the day came out with 86 laps to go. Kyle Busch was tapped from behind by Ryan Newman coming off turn four and Busch backed into the outside wall, then slid through the infield grass. Newman was then tapped from behind by Sam Hornish Jr and Newman slid through the infield grass which tore up Newman’s front end. Busch said after the incident that “he’ll (Newman) get another one before the year’s out.”

With 60 laps to go drivers, including Denny Hamlin, began making their green-flag pit stops.

The record-tying thirteenth caution came out with 54 laps to go for Aric Almirola cut a tire down then went full speed into the turn four wall with an incredible impact. Almirola said after the incident that he had the wind knocked out of him during the hit. Almirola said “I never had a race car that good.”  Almirola was having his best run of the year up until this point and led a career high number of laps in the race.

Kenseth was the leader on the restart.

The fourteenth record-breaking and final caution of the afternoon came out with 33 laps to go, for Sam Hornish Jr, who blew a tire and hit the turn one wall.

Kasey Kahne was expected to challenge Matt Kenseth for the lead on the upcoming restart but when Kahne didn’t maintain pace car speed under caution, he was penalized. Kahne fell back to sixth and that mistake cost him a potential victory.

Matt Kenseth was able to hold off Martin Truex Jr for the final laps. Kenseth then crossed the line first for the third time this season and the second time in three weeks. Kenseth won at Talladega two weeks ago and his win at Kansas is second for the 2012 Chase races. Kenseth was emotional in victory lane because this could be his final win for Roush-Fenway Racing. Kenseth is moving to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013.

Other notable Chaser finishes are Martin Truex Jr in second, Kahne in fourth, Stewart fifth, Bowyer sixth, Keselowski eighth, Johnson ninth, Gordon tenth, Harvick eleventh, Hamlin thirteenth and Biffle twenty-seventh.

Almost half the Chasers were involved in an incident throughout the afternoon. Jimmie Johnson went from wrecking and being counted out of a good finish, to a top ten finish. If Johnson is to win the championship, this race will be the race seen as his best performance.

Brad Keselowski still leads the point’s standings by seven over Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin trails Keselowski by twenty and Bowyer trails Keselowski by twenty-five. A record fourteen cautions shook up the Chase field once again. Johnson and Hamlin continue to Chase Keselowski heading into Martinsville.

Martinsville has been very good to drivers like Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin and they could finally make their move on Keselowski. More drama is expected next week at Martinsville; tune in next Sunday to see another wild Chase race.

Results via Nascar.com

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 12 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Zest 48/2 267 Running
2 16 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 42/0 267 Running
3 14 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / CertainTeed 42/1 267 Running
4 1 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 41/1 267 Running
5 33 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 39/0 267 Running
6 3 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women 39/1 267 Running
7 39 88 Regan Smith Chevrolet National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew 37/0 267 Running
8 25 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 36/0 267 Running
9 7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s 36/1 267 Running
10 19 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 35/1 267 Running
11 10 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 33/0 267 Running
12 18 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Black & Decker 32/0 267 Running
13 9 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 31/0 267 Running
14 17 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 30/0 267 Running
15 21 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Arctic Cat 29/0 267 Running
16 24 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Taylor Swift / Target 28/0 267 Running
17 31 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 28/1 267 Running
18 26 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 26/0 267 Running
19 8 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 25/0 267 Running
20 37 34 David Ragan Ford Client One Securities, LLC 24/0 267 Running
21 32 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 0 267 Running
22 42 32 Timmy Hill Ford Southern Pride Trucking / U.S. Chrome 22/0 267 Running
23 38 38 David Gilliland Ford Long John Silver’s 22/1 267 Running
24 2 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 21/1 267 Running
25 29 78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 19/0 265 Running
26 15 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 0 234 Accident
27 11 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / Sherwin Williams 17/0 227 Running
28 20 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 16/0 214 Running
29 5 43 Aric Almirola Ford Farmland 16/1 212 Accident
30 6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Code 3 Associates 14/0 188 Accident
31 4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M’s Halloween 13/0 181 Accident
32 40 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 0 154 Accident
33 22 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Kingsford 11/0 140 Accident
34 35 195 Scott Speed Ford B&D Electrical 10/0 77 Electrical
35 13 51 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 9/0 69 Accident
36 30 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Plinker Tactical / Crowne Plaza 0 47 Vibration
37 28 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 7/0 29 Accident
38 43 179 Kelly Bires Ford Bestway Disposal / Re-Load.biz 0 28 Rear Gear
39 41 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet TBR / TMone 5/0 25 Brakes
40 36 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 0 22 Rear Gear
41 34 191 Reed Sorenson Toyota Plinker Tactical / Crowne Plaza 0 18 Overheating
42 27 37 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet MaxQworkforce
.com
2/0 11 Vibration
43 23 98 Michael McDowell Ford K-Love / Curb Records 1/0 7 Vibration

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