Bristol NASCAR: Matt Kenseth fends off Kasey Kahne for victory
|By Andrew van de Burgt||Sunday, August 25th 2013, 03:07 GMT|
Matt Kenseth held off Kasey Kahne in a barnstorming finish to take victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup night race at Bristol.
It was a fantastic comeback by the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who had earlier been sent to the back for speeding in the pitlane.
Kahne had to fight his way by an inspired Juan Pablo Montoya to set up the thrilling showdown, but despite getting the nose of his Hendrick Chevrolet in front a couple of times, he could not make the pass stick.
Montoya had also been busted for pitlane speeding, but drove a great race to take third for Earnhardt Ganassi.
Brian Vickers was fourth for Michael Waltrip Racing, while Joey Logano boosted his Chase chances with a recovery drive to fifth following contact with Kyle Busch.
Busch's hopes of a hat-trick of Bristol wins following Truck and Nationwide triumphs were undone when he brushed the wall and slid into Logano. He did well to keep pace with the leaders, but his car was not good in traffic and he eventually finished 11th.
A host of potential winners were taken out in a huge restart crash that brought out the red flag.
Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick touched, probably after Hamlin cut a cut tyre following contact with Vickers, smashing into the wall and taking out Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr and Brad Keselowski. Truex suffered the most damage, but five strong cars were out of contention in an instant.
Carl Edwards had been the dominant driver for much of the race, but during a late-race caution period his Roush Fenway Ford started to splutter.
He switched ignitions, but to no avail and he was forced to bring the Fusion in to retire. Remarkably, it was the first Roush Fenway mechanical retirement of the season.
"I didn't have any warning," said Edwards. "That was the most fun I've had in a car for a long time. The car was perfect. The engine aside, we were the dominant car here."
Poleman Hamlin led the opening laps, but was baulked by series debutant Ryan Truex, which gave Kurt Busch the opportunity he was waiting for.
Busch was running comfortably out front when he felt the handling of the Furniture Row Chevy go off. He pitted to have a loose wheel inspected, and lost over 20 laps as lengthy repairs were required.
Jimmie Johnson's recent poor run of luck continued. The five-time champion's Hendrick Chevy sustained heavy damage when he was powerless to prevent running into the spinning David Reutimann.
Results - 500 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 2h57m07.000s 2. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet +0.188s 3. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet +4.589s 4. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota +6.471s 5. Joey Logano Penske Ford +7.989s 6. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet +8.637s 7. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet +8.979s 8. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford +9.208s 9. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford +9.496s 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet +9.530s 11. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota +12.342s 12. David Ragan Front Row Ford +12.709s 13. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet +14.468s 14. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota +17.816s 15. Aric Almirola Petty Ford +1 lap 16. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota +1 lap 17. David Stremme Swan Toyota +2 laps 18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford +2 laps 19. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet +2 laps 20. Mark Martin Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +2 laps 21. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +2 laps 22. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet +2 laps 23. Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet +2 laps 24. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet +3 laps 25. David Gilliland Front Row Ford +4 laps 26. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +6 laps 27. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford +8 laps 28. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota +12 laps 29. David Reutimann BK Toyota +16 laps 30. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford +21 laps 31. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet +23 laps 32. Tony Raines Circle Sport Chevrolet +24 laps 33. Casey Mears Germain Ford +32 laps 34. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet +50 laps 35. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota +54 laps* 36. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet +59 laps 37. Josh Wise Front Row Ford +82 laps 38. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota +106 laps * Not running at chequered flag Retirements: Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 387 laps Scott Speed Leavine Ford 223 laps Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 175 laps Ryan Truex Phoenix Chevrolet 39 laps Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 1 lap