While Matt Kenseth had a winning car this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his cards weren’t a winning hand and he ended up in the red.
Rounding Turn 1 with 43 laps to go, the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota got loose and slid up the track. Just as he had it recovered, Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet slammed into the rear of his car and sent both of them to the garage.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Kenseth told Fox. “I just turned off in there and spun off before I honestly knew what was happening. I don’t know why it spun out. I tried to save it the best I could and just got hit hard from behind and ended up wrecking it.”
A 37th-place finish continues Kenseth’s string of bad luck. In the last three races, he went from leading the Daytona 500 on the final lap to getting passed by teammate Denny Hamlin, falling backwards after getting loose in Turn 4 and finishing 14th. In Atlanta, he had a strong car, but fell afoul of an unusual rule, fell two laps down and finished 19th.
He leaves Vegas 22nd in points.
Elliott, who was running in the top-10 for most of the race, took all the blame for an incident he described as a “terrible job on my behalf.”
“What a fast race car. I appreciate everybody working hard. I feel like we made a lot of gains this weekend. Just a terrible job on my behalf. That is pitiful. We have run three races and finished one. Just a bad job on my end. I ought to know better to miss a wreck like that.”
His 38th-place finish is his second outside the top-10 for the young rookie who replaced Jeff Gordon and had so much hype coming into the 2016 season. After winning the pole for the Daytona 500, his day came to an end early after crashing into the infield grass. He rebounded with an eighth-place finish last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He was running well for most of the day today before getting caught up in the melee with 43 laps to go.
He leaves Vegas 28th in points.