Kenseth rides two tires to win at Dover
Photo of Matt Kenseth by Amanda Vincent
Amanda Vincent is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
For much of the afternoon on Sunday, the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway looked like a two-man race for the win between Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson. After all, Johnson led 200 laps of the 400-lap event and by lap 331, the two drivers had combined to lead all but 11 laps.
“It was feeling good there for a little while,” Edwards said. “I thought we were going to win this thing.”
In the end though, Matt Kenseth was the driver in victory lane, celebrating his second win of the season. His No17 team made the call to take only two tires on a caution that came out with 39 laps to go after a spin by Juan Montoya.
According to Kenseth, the call was a compromise between himself and crew chief Jimmy Fennig.
“I was sitting on the track and thinking that we should stay out and get clean air and try it, because I knew we wouldn’t win if we took four,” Kenseth said. “Jimmy wanted four, but as I was driving down pit road, I thought maybe we could compromise. While I was on the jack, I asked if he was sure we didn’t want to try two and he said to put on two.”
Mark Martin opted to stay out to restart in the lead, and Kenseth restarted second with a buffer of several other cars on two fresh tires. Once Kenseth got by Martin, he set sail and led the rest of the way.
Martin was able to maintain the second position to finish in the runner-up spot.
“Kudos to (crew chief) Lance McGrew,” Martin said after the race. “We ran good, but we were getting ready to finish 15th again.”
Marcos Ambrose, who also took two tires on his final pit stop, finished third. Kyle Busch finished fourth, and Brian Vickers rounded out the top-five.
Clint Bowyer actually took over the top-spot from Edwards and Johnson during the previous caution that came out on lap 331 when Kasey Kahne suffered a mechanical issue. Bowyer beat both Johnson and Edwards off pit road to restart in the lead, and he held on to the lead as Edwards and Johnson jockeyed for second until the final caution with 39 to go.
After taking four tires, Bowyer restarted in the eight spot, while Edwards restarted ninth and Johnson 11th. Each one made up two positions in the closing laps, giving Bowyer a finish of sixth, Edwards seventh and Johnson ninth.