Kansas NASCAR: Matt Kenseth wins eventful race

Matt Kenseth claimed his third NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season in Sunday's Chase round at Kansas, despite early contact with the wall

Kansas NASCAR: Matt Kenseth wins eventful race

The Roush Fenway driver emerged up front from the final round of pitstops, which took place under the 13th of a record 14 cautions at the reconfigured track.

Kenseth made the outside lane work for him on the final two restarts and was able to pull away, first from Hendrick's Kasey Kahne and then from Michael Waltrip Racing's Martin Truex Jr, his closest pursuer on the final run to the flag.

The 2003 Cup champion finished with a damaged right-side after hitting the wall at the exit of Turn 2 on lap 172 while trying to avoid a spinning Aric Almirola. The Cuban-American had been a leading contender before hitting the wall twice due to left-front tyre issues on his Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.

"I thought it was over when I got in the fence when Aric wrecked [while running] under Mark [Martin]," said Kenseth.

"I was watching them and trying to make sure I didn't hit them and I flat-sided it pretty bad. It ended up working in our favour. They fixed the body as good as it was when we started and we had to take less gas in that last pitstop and this pit crew put me out front."

The new track surface, which kept changing grip levels throughout the weekend, caught out many of the strong contenders including five-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who led 44 laps before losing control of his car on lap 137, shortly after an ill-timed pitstop just before a yellow dropped him back.

The Hendrick driver was eventually able to recover after his crew worked miracles to repair the #48 Chevrolet's battered rear. Johnson finished ninth, right behind Chase leader Brad Keselowski, who was not among the day's strong contenders but still kept his seven-point lead in the championship.

Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin battled to a 13th-place finish, having lost a lap when he pitted just before the yellow for Almirola.

Hamlin also needed an extra fuel stop late on, but the final caution allowed him to make up some ground in the closing stages.

Kahne and MWR's Clint Bowyer gained in the Chase by finishing ahead of the championship leaders, taking fourth and sixth at the flag.

Ahead of them Paul Menard was best of the non-Chasers in third, while Tony Stewart split them in fifth, recovering from a spin 100 laps from the end and earlier contact with Jeff Burton.

Greg Biffle was another Chase contender in trouble, hitting the wall hard on lap 176 following a solid run.

Danica Patrick retired from the race after a clash with BK Racing's Landon Cassill. The Stewart-Haas racer came off worst while trying to retaliate against him for an earlier incident.

Regan Smith, filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr in what is expected to be his final outing in the #88 car, finished a strong seventh ahead of the championship leader.

Phoenix Racing's AJ Allmendinger had a promising run on his second outing since his return and was sixth in the order when a blown tyre put him in the wall on lap 72.

Results - 267 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                         Time/Gap
 1.  Matt Kenseth        Roush Fenway Ford            3h28m48.000s
 2.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota                   + 0.495s
 3.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet              + 1.708s
 4.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet               + 1.990s
 5.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           + 5.733s
 6.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota                   + 6.667s
 7.  Regan Smith         Hendrick Chevrolet               + 7.107s
 8.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Dodge                     + 7.592s
 9.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet               + 7.960s
10.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet              + 10.947s
11.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet             + 12.941s
12.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                      + 13.553s
13.  Denny Hamlin        Gibbs Toyota                    + 15.557s
14.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford               + 16.598s
15.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet     + 18.037s
16.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet     + 18.495s
17.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                       + 18.833s
18.  Landon Cassill      BK Toyota                       + 20.320s
19.  Joey Logano         Gibbs Toyota                    + 22.999s
20.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford                  + 24.508s
21.  Trevor Bayne        Wood Brothers Ford              + 26.134s
22.  Timmy Hill          FAS Lane Ford                   + 30.940s
23.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                    + 1 lap
24.  Mark Martin         Waltrip Toyota                    + 1 lap
25.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet          + 2 laps

Retirements:

     Sam Hornish Jr      Penske Dodge                     234 laps
     Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford               227 laps*
     Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet             214 laps*
     Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                       212 laps
     Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           188 laps
     Kyle Busch          Gibbs Toyota                     181 laps
     Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           154 laps
     Bobby Labonte       JTG Daugherty Toyota             140 laps
     Scott Speed         Leavine Ford                      77 laps
     AJ Allmendinger     Phoenix Chevrolet                 69 laps
     Mike Bliss          Humphrey Smith Toyota             47 laps
     Casey Mears         Germain Ford                      29 laps
     Kelly Bires         Go Green Ford                     28 laps
     Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet                 25 laps
     Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                      22 laps
     Reed Sorenson       Humphrey Smith Toyota             18 laps
     JJ Yeley            Max Q Chevrolet                   11 laps
     Michael McDowell    Parsons Ford                       7 laps

* Running again at finish
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