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Matt Kenseth Wins Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead

Matt Kenseth Wins Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead

by November 15, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images via NASCAR

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Matt Kenseth’s 22-race winless streak in the NASCAR Nationwide Series was broken on Saturday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway as Kenseth claimed victory in the final race of the season – the Ford EcoBoost 300.

Kenseth’s 29th career series victory comes at the end of an era as tonight’s race marked the final race with Nationwide as the title sponsor of NASCAR’s second-tier national series.

Crossing the finish line behind the driver of the No. 20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota after a turbulent green-white-checkered restart were Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Regan Smith, Ty Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Elliott Sadler, and Brian Scott.

“We had a really good car tonight, especially on a short- to mid-range run,” Kenseth said. “That kind of fell into our hands except for the last two or three cautions we didn’t need, but it kind of worked out where we got in the front and had the speed on the front side of the run where we needed it.”

Kenseth grabbed the lead from Larson with an aggressive move into Turn 1 on the final restart of the race that nearly led to contact between the two drivers. As Kenseth cleared Larson off of Turn 2, Busch and Blaney went three-wide with the driver of the No. 42 Cartwheel by Target Chevrolet, giving Kenseth enough room to sprint away to his first win of the season.

Kenseth elaborated on the final restart of the race, voicing his surprise in Larson giving Kenseth the outside lane on the restart considering that the outside was the preferred line to restart on throughout the entire race.

“Well, I was, except for the fact that I had the lead on the outside so I was the one who controlled when we started the race, and he beat me and got the lead,” Kenseth said. ” So I think how the last one worked, it worked good for him, he got good traction and was able to get through 1 and 2 fast enough to pass me, so I think he wanted to leave — I’m sure he wanted to leave the pins set up the same as they were for the last restart because it worked good for him.”

Larson’s lane choice on the final restart left the leading Rookie of the Year contender in the Sprint Cup Series wondering what could have been, but, as he would explain,

“Well, I probably would try it differently maybe,” Larson said. “But I think had I gotten the same jump, which wasn’t a very good one, Kyle probably would have got to my outside into 1.  Who knows, it’s hard to — it’s easy to go back and point to what you could have done differently, but you never really know if it would be the same or a different result.”

The final race of the 2014 season saw its fair share of cautions with the yellow flag being brought out 11 times during what was to be a 200-lap race. The 11 caution flag periods stretched the length of the race out to 2 hours, 40 minutes, and 36 seconds.

The lead was swapped 16 times amongst 10 different drivers throughout the race. Drivers who spent time leading the race other than Kenseth were Busch, Larson, Blaney, Keselowski, Trevor Bayne, Paul Menard, Jeremy Clements, Chase Elliott, and Blake Koch.

Top-10 Finishers of the Ford EcoBoost 300

  1. 20 – Matt Kenseth(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  2. 54 – Kyle Busch(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  3. 42 – Kyle Larson(i) – Chevrolet – Turner Scott Motorsports
  4. 12 – Ryan Blaney(i) – Ford – Team Penske
  5. 60 – Chris Buescher# – Ford – Roush-Fenway Racing
  6. 7 – Regan Smith – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
  7. 3 – Ty Dillon# – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  8. 22 – Brad Keselowski(i) – Ford – Team Penske
  9. 11 – Elliott Sadler – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  10. 2 – Brian Scott – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing

Top-10 in the Drivers’ Standings after Round 33 of 33

  1. 9 – Chase Elliott# – JR Motorsports – 1213 | Leader
  2. 7 – Regan Smith – JR Motorsports – 1171 | -42
  3. 11 – Elliott Sadler – Joe Gibbs Racing – 1154 | -59
  4. 2 – Brian Scott – Richard Childress Racing – 1154 | -59
  5. 3 – Ty Dillon# – Richard Childress Racing – 1148 | -65
  6. 6 – Trevor Bayne – Roush-Fenway Racing – 1086 | -127
  7. 60 – Chris Buescher# – Roush-Fenway Racing – 1014 | -199
  8. 62 – Brendan Gaughan – Richard Childress Racing – 954 | -259
  9. 16 – Ryan Reed# – Roush-Fenway Racing – 889 | -324
  10. 99 – James Buescher – RAB Racing – 868 | -345

# = Rookie, (i) = Ineligible for NASCAR Nationwide Series points.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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