KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Matt Kenseth benefited from the timing of the final caution flag to take the lead in Sunday's STP 400 and held off Kasey Kahne over the final laps to get his second win of the season.
It's the third straight Sprint Cup Series race in which the winner has won from the pole and the fourth win for Joe Gibbs Racing in eight races in 2013. Though outside of Kenseth, it wasn't a rosy day for the rest of the team.
Kenseth was up front the entire day, but was running fifth as the pit window for the race's final pit stop ended. As the pit stop cycle started and the four cars ahead of him pitted, Kenseth stayed out and inherited the lead.
In the midst of all of that, Brad Keselowski's rear bumper cover was flapping in the breeze thanks to damage he had sustained earlier. Three laps after Kenseth took the lead and before he had a chance to pit, it flew off and landed on the track. The cars that were in front of Kenseth were suddenly going to restart behind him when the green flag waved again on lap 225.
That also put Kahne near the front too, and he charged to second place. Over the last 20 laps, the race strongly resembled the third race of the season at Las Vegas, where Kenseth had kept Kahne at bay to get his first win of the season and first with Joe Gibbs Racing.
As the laps wound down, Kahne would close in to within mere carlengths of Kenseth's bumper. But then, on the next lap, he'd lose some of the ground he'd make up, much like what happened at Vegas. On the white flag lap, Kahne got to Kenseth's bumper in turns one and two, but wasn't able to maintain his momentum and Kenseth pulled away down the backstretch.
It's also back-to-back wins at Kansas for Kenseth, who won last year's fall race while with Roush Fenway Racing. On Sunday, he led 163 of the race's 267 laps and was not passed for the lead on the racetrack all afternoon.
The other three JGR cars all crashed separately Sunday, including last week's winner Kyle Busch, who spun twice. The first time he didn't hit anything, but the second incident ended his day when he slid down the track and was collected heavily by Joey Logano.
Elliott Sadler, making his first Cup start of the season, crashed in turns three and four on lap 88 and Brian Vickers, subbing for the injured Denny Hamlin, hit the wall and spun on the backstretch on lap 175.