Skip to content

Gutsy gamble pays off for Matt Kenseth in Kentucky

Jun 30, 2013, 4:02 PM EDT

Quaker State 400 Getty Images

After taking the lead following a fuel-only stop with 25 laps to go, Matt Kenseth capitalized on track position – and a spin off the penultimate restart by the dominant Jimmie Johnson – to win the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

A crash involving Brian Vickers brought out the yellow with 27 laps left and on the subsequent stops, crew chief Jason Ratcliff made the decision not to give Kenseth any fresh tires. He led the race off pit road over Johnson, who had chosen to take right-side tires on his last stop of the afternoon.

Kenseth and Johnson led the field to the green on Lap 246, but while Kenseth pulled away, Johnson fell back and then spun out in Turn 2. The field was able to avoid the five-time Sprint Cup champion, who immediately called for Kenseth to be penalized for what he saw as him slowing the restart.

The penalty never came however, and Kenseth held onto the lead through one last restart before going on to his fourth victory of the season and his third on 1.5-mile tracks. Johnson, who led 182 laps on the day, wound up finishing ninth after restarting 25th following the spin.

Kenseth jokingly said that at the time, he thought Ratcliff was “slightly crazy” for the fuel-only call, but was happy with the results.

“Jason did a great job – I didn’t think there was any way we were gonna hold on for that win,” Kenseth told TNT in Victory Lane. “He made the right call at the right time and the guys got it done.”

Ratcliff said that he thought Kenseth would be tough to beat if he could get to the front.

“I knew if we could get Matt position, he would make a good fight at it and he obviously did,” he explained. “Thankfully, we got a couple good restarts there…I knew [the pit stop] was going to be our only shot to get it done today and with the position we’re in right now with the 20 car – we’ve had some success at the start of the season – we can take some shots like this.”

Jamie McMurray was closing in on Kenseth in the closing laps, but ran out of time and finished seven-tenths of a second back. However, his strong runner-up performance marks his first Top-5 result since August of 2011 at Bristol Motor Speedway, when he finished fifth. Clint Bowyer finished in third, with Joey Logano and Kyle Busch rounding out the Top 5 at the checkered flag.

Latest Posts
  1. The F1 points scoreboard at Hungary, 2014 versus 2013

    Jul 29, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    HUNStart AP

    There have been some massive rises and falls in the F1 points tables comparing the 2014 standings post-Hungary to the 2013 ones.

  2. IndyCar working to reduce hand/wrist injuries among drivers

    Jul 28, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    Firestone 600 - Practice Getty Images

    Among the possible options: A new steering damper, a thumb/wrist brace adapted from motocross, and energy-absorbing material for steering wheels.

  3. NASCAR AMERICA: Monday Round-Up (VIDEO)

    Jul 28, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    Jeff Gordon reflects on fifth Brickyard victory; Joe Gibbs Racing starting to peak; the impact of Carl Edwards’ exit from Roush Fenway Racing.

  4. Everything you need to know for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono

    Jul 28, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    HarvickPocono1 Getty Images

    All the notes and numbers to keep in mind as the Sprint Cup Series makes its second visit to Pocono.

  5. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA recaps Brickyard at 5 p.m. ET

    Jul 28, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    Coming up today: Highlights from Jeff Gordon’s fifth win at Indy; Carl Edwards on his upcoming exit from Roush Fenway Racing; Kasey Kahne’s missed opportunity.

  6. NASCAR AMERICA Minute: The legacy of Jeff Gordon (VIDEO)

    Jul 28, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Cheez-It 355 - Practice Getty Images

    The NASCAR AMERICA crew talks about Gordon’s history of success at Indianapolis and throughout his NASCAR career.

  7. Petty, Childress, JTG, Furniture Row teams testing at Watkins Glen

    Jul 28, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

    Cheez-It 355 at The Glen Getty Images

    Chase hopefuls target the Glen’s road course event on Aug. 10 as a chance to get into the post-season.

  8. Team planes for Stewart-Haas, JGR collide at North Carolina airport

    Jul 28, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    Credit: @Jesse_Sanders_ Credit: @Jesse_Sanders_

    No one was injured Sunday night when a Joe Gibbs Racing plane clipped a parked Stewart-Haas Racing plane while returning home from the Brickyard 400.

  9. Team Penske trio has mixed fortunes in Brickyard 400

    Jul 28, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 Getty Images

    Joey Logano finishes fifth, while Brad Keselowski (12th) and IndyCar’s Juan Pablo Montoya (23rd) falter after starting toward the front of the grid.

  10. IndyCar: Winning’s been a curse, not a blessing, over last six races

    Jul 28, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    TORTrafficJam Getty Images

    The winners of the last six IndyCar races haven’t had much in the way of results in subsequent races.

  11. Jeff Gordon talks Brickyard 400 victory on The Dan Patrick Show (VIDEO)

    Jul 28, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Federated Auto Parts 400 Getty Images

    The five-time Brickyard winner discusses his big win and other topics, including whether he’d allow his young daughter to become a NASCAR driver.

  12. IMSA: Indianapolis thoughts and observations

    Jul 28, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    IMSAatIMS Getty Images

    Two drivers from the 1995 Indianapolis 500 finish 1-2 in the 2014 Brickyard Grand Prix, while the race features a star turn from somebody born in 1995…

  13. Sauber close, but no cigar in terms of first 2014 points in Hungary

    Jul 28, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    SutilHUN Getty Images

    Both Adrian Sutil, Esteban Gutierrez run top-10 in Hungary, and both fail to get Sauber on the scoreboard.

  14. NHRA: Courtney Force becomes winningest female in Funny Car with Sonoma win

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:27 AM EDT

    ForcesSonoma AP

    Courtney Force beats father John in final for record-setting NHRA Funny Car win in Sonoma.

  15. No one deserved to lose the 2014 Hungarian GP

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    HUNPodium AP

    Despite the facial expressions of those second and third to Daniel Ricciardo on Sunday, each of the top three would have deserved the Hungarian GP win.

  16. Clint Bowyer fails to realize IndyCar doesn’t have push-to-pass on ovals

    Jul 28, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    BowyerIndy Getty Images

    IndyCars have push-to-pass, but not on ovals. It’s all good, Clint.

  17. Hulkenberg apologizes after hitting teammate

    Jul 28, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Nico Hulkenberg AP

    German driver retires for the first time in 2014 after hitting Sergio Perez during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

  18. NASCAR: Is Edwards a lame duck or could he still bag 2014 title?

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    EdwardsRoush AP

    The mindset of Carl Edwards and the No. 99 team will be key down the stretch, knowing they’re heading their separate ways at the end of the year.

  19. Kimi Raikkonen confident of improvements at Ferrari

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    Finn underlines his belief in the team to turn things around in 2014.

  20. McLaren gamble backfires for Button and Magnussen

    Jul 28, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Decision to fit wet weather tires in anticipation of more rain scuppers hopes of big points in Hungary.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

Jeff Gordon's historic Brickyard 400 win

Featured video

Inside the Hungarian GP
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches