You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Kenseth cashes in at Kentucky Speedway


Matt Kenseth won Sunday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway with no tires. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Trailing a dominant Jimmie Johnson for most of the afternoon, Kenseth and crew chief Jason Ratcliff gambled on a fuel-only pit stop with 24 laps remaining and moved to the front of the field when the rest of the cars on pit road added two tires and fuel.

Johnson, who had led 182 of the 243 laps at that point, spun out on the restart, and Kenseth and his worn tires never gave up the lead, beating Jamie McMurray to the finish line by 0.699 seconds.

Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five in a race that was postponed from Saturday night by repeated rain showers.

“I didn’t roll the dice, Jason did,” Kenseth said of the decision to eschew new left-side tires after entering the pits in fourth place.

“I thought he was slightly crazy at the time,” Kenseth added. “I thought we had about a 5-percent chance of winning if something didn’t happen to the 48 (Johnson). But if we would’ve gotten two tires and came out behind the 48, I thought we had almost a 0-percent chance.”

Kenseth took the outside spot on the restart and jumped ahead of Johnson, who ended up spinning when Logano tried to go underneath him in Turn 1.

“The 20 (Kenseth) broke the pace-car speed, which you aren’t supposed to do, but they aren’t calling guys on that so I need to start trying that in the future,” said Johnson, the Sprint Cup points leader who fell all the way to 25th before rallying to finish ninth and expand his lead from 25 to 38 points ahead of Carl Edwards.

“I certainly didn’t feel like I did anything wrong from where I was,” Kenseth argued. “But you know, after dominating all day and you have a problem at the end, I imagine it’s frustrating.”

Also feeling frustrated was defending race winner and Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, who got turned by Kurt Busch and slammed from behind by Greg Biffle just 48 laps into the race. Keselowski, who won Friday night’s Nationwide race, finished 33rd to fall from ninth to 13th in the point standings.

Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, Johnson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 10, while pole-sitter Dale Earnhardt finished 12th.

The race featured 11 changes among six drivers. Kenseth led for 14 laps earlier in the race (95 to 108) before cashing in Ratcliff’s gamble to lead the final 24.

“I felt with as many laps as we had on our tires, most guys would have taken two,” Ratcliff said. “There’s a lot of smart guys sitting on the pit boxes, and I know how aggressive you have to be to win one of these because it’s so competitive. I thought it was worth a shot.”

The win was Kenseth’s fourth in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, and it came nearly a year to the day after he announced he would be leaving Roush Fenway Racing after 13 seasons.

The four wins are the most of any driver this year, and three of those victories — including Sunday’s — have come on 1.5-mile ovals, which make up five of the 10 races in the Chase.

“We’ve got a lot of racing to do before we get to the Chase,” said Kenseth, who won the series championship in 2003. “We know we have to continue to get better. Just because you’re great today doesn’t mean you’ll be great a month from now.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Archie Miller: Cunningham intends to play this season
Archie Miller: Cunningham intends to play this season

Dayton Flyers sophomore forward Josh Cunningham continues to make progress in his rehabilitation. After a 67-46 victory over Saint Louis on Sunday at UD Arena, coach Archie Miller said Cunningham intends to play again this season. Cunningham hasn't played since tearing a ligament in his ankle in the second game of the season Nov. 15 at Alabama...
Dayton’s Kyle Davis misses second straight game with injury
Dayton’s Kyle Davis misses second straight game with injury

The Dayton Flyers still haven't played a game at full strength this season, and they never will if you consider the loss of Steve McElvene, whose death in May robbed the team of its most dominant shot-blocking force. Dayton beat Saint Louis 67-46 on Sunday at UD Arena with senior guard Kyle Davis on the bench. He missed his second straight game with...
Wright State routs Oakland for third straight win
Wright State routs Oakland for third straight win

Wright State sophomore Parker Ernsthausen came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points Sunday as the Raiders routed Oakland 88-67. It was the third win a row for the Raiders (14-7, 4-3 Horizon League) as they avenged an 81-62 loss to the Grizzlies (15-6, 5-3) in December in the conference opener. Called on early after Steven Davis picked up...
Dayton Flyers rout Saint Louis to move into first place by themselves
Dayton Flyers rout Saint Louis to move into first place by themselves

The Dayton Flyers routed Saint Louis 67-46 on Sunday at UD Arena to move into first place by themselves in the Atlantic 10. Richmond lost 82-77 to George Mason, and La Salle lost 90-52 to VCU. The Spiders and Explorers suffered their second A-10 losses. At 15-4 and 6-1, Dayton leads those two teams and VCU by a game. Star of the game: Scoochie Smith...
MLB mourning the loss of Ventura, Marte in separate car crashes in Dominican Republic
MLB mourning the loss of Ventura, Marte in separate car crashes in Dominican Republic

Major League Baseball is mourning the loss of two players: Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and former MLB third baseman Andy Marte. Both men were killed in separate car crashes in the Dominican Republic, the Associated Press reported. The fast-throwing, right-handed Ventura was from the Dominican Republic. He was 25. The Royals confirmed...
More Stories