Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local Sports

July 3, 2013

Kenseth claims first win at Kentucky Speedway

July 3, 2013 — Matt Kenseth corralled his first Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) victory by gaining the race lead on a fuel-only pit stop with 23 laps remaining and raced away to a 0.699 of a second victory in the Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts.

Kenseth registers his first top-five Kentucky Speedway NSCS finish and is one of four drivers to own three top-10 finishes at the speedway through three series starts.

The first-year Joe Gibbs Racing driver's previous best Kentucky Speedway NSCS finish was sixth on July 9, 2011 and he placed seventh on June 30, 2012.

“I didn't roll the dice, (crew chief) Jason (Ratcliff) did. I thought he was a slightly crazy when it happened.

“This is such a great team and a great opportunity for me. It's been just an unbelievable season and year of my life, honestly. Jason did a great job. I didn't think there was any way we were going to hold on for that win. He made the right call at the right time and these guys got it done on pit road,” Kenseth said.

After ending a 15-year tenure with Roush Fenway Racing at the end of 2012, he said he's a bit surprised to be holding the lead in NSCS victories near the midpoint of the season.

“I dreamed about it, but I didn't imagine it would be realistic.  It's been incredible.  We've had some moments that have tested us already this season, but it's great to have the four wins. Hopefully we'll be able to keep it rolling. It's been fun,” he added.

The oldest NSCS race winner in track history at age 41, Kenseth qualified 16th and posted the greatest improvement from a starting position by a Kentucky Speedway NSCS race winner. He raced second on Lap 60, led for the first time from Laps 95-108 and improved from the fourth spot on a gutsy late pit stop. He led the closing 23 circuits of the 267-lap event and paced 38 laps on the day.

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