Kenseth Wins Thriller At Dover, Tames A Wild Monster

by Michael Finley On Sun, May. 15, 2016

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Experience trumped exuberance on Sunday as 44-year-old Matt Kenseth was able to hold off youngsters Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott to win the Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway.

It was the Wisconsin veteran’s 37th series career victory and his third at Dover. It came after an amazing 30 lap duel between the three drivers that ended with Larson coming close but leaving with no cigar.

“We had a good car today. I thought we were competitive and there were a few guys at different parts of the race that were a little bit better and Kyle (Larson) gave me all I wanted at the end, and then some. We were fortunate to be able to hold him off.” Kenseth said.

“I was trying to do all I could do to get by him (Kenseth) without getting into him,” said Larson. “I probably could have bumped him a little bit there in the middle of (Turns) 1 and 2, but it was a lot of fun racing with Matt, there. I was just trying to be patient. I knew I was better than he was. I was probably just a little too patient there, but I’m really proud of everybody on this team.”

Larson and Elliott finished second and third, respectively, behind Kenseth, and both drivers are still hunting for their first Sprint Cup Series victory.

“I don’t know that it gets a whole lot better than that as far as a race to the finish. I’m definitely proud to be a part of it. Unfortunately we couldn’t be on the good end of it, but proud of our effort today,” Elliott said.

The battle was set up after an 18 car pileup on the restart on lap 356 as leader Jimmie Johnson couldn’t get the car into gear. Several drivers including Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Greg Biffle were caught up and could not continue their race. Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Johnson himself were able to continue but were no longer competitive and went laps down.

On the ensuing restart, Carl Edwards went low on Larson on the backstretch and hit the SAFER Barrier wall head-on. Edwards was later released from the infield care center.

“I was trying to give Kurt (Busch) a little room, it looked like he got choked up and as I looked at the replay it looked like I moved down a little and (Kyle) Larson got underneath me. I don’t think he meant to do it, but it surprised me. I didn’t know he was that close. We’ll just chalk it up to racing,” Edwards said.

Tony Stewart also had a problem in the final 100 laps, as his suspension failed on him setting up the bad restart. Martin Truex Jr., for the second straight week, experienced a heartbreaking loss. Truex led 47 laps and was leading with just 52 laps to go before getting caught up and receiving damage in the 18 car wreck. Finally, Kevin Harvick led the 116 of the first 120 laps before fading and only leading one other lap due to slow pit stops leaving him in traffic on restarts.

Full Results for the AAA 400 Drive For Autism
1st Matt Kenseth
2nd Kyle Larson
3rd Chase Elliott
4th Kasey Khane
5th Kurt Busch
6th Brad Keselowski
7th Denny Hamlin
8th Ryan Blaney
9th Martin Truex Jr.
10th Trevor Bayne
11th Paul Menard
12th Clint Bowyer
13th Danica Patrick
14th Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
15th Kevin Harvick
16th Ryan Newman
17th David Ragan
18th Chris Buescher
19th Landon Cassill
20th Michael McDowell
21st Jamie McMurray
22nd Joey Logano
23rd A.J. Allmendinger
24th Brian Scott
25th Jimmie Johnson
26th Casey Mears
27th Cole Whitt
28th Carl Edwards
29th Greg Biffle
30th Kyle Busch
31st Aric Almirola
32nd Dale Earnhardt Jr.
33rd Austin Dillon
34th Tony Stewart
35th Jeffrey Earnhardt
36th Josh Wise
37th Michael Annett
38th Reed Sorenson
39th Reagan Smith
40th Matt DiBenedetto

Chase Grid
1st Kyle Busch (Three wins)
2nd Carl Edwards (Two wins)
3rd Jimmie Johnson (Two wins)
4th Brad Keselowski (Two wins)
5th Kevin Harvick (One win)
6th Matt Kenseth (One win)
7th Denny Hamlin (One win)

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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