Matt Kenseth And Joe Gibbs Racing Dominate Federated Auto Parts 400 In Richmondby Camille Jones September 13, 2015 0 comments
Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images
RICHMOND, Va. – With a dominant performance in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway, Matt Kenseth earned his fourth win of 2015 in the final race before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Joe Gibbs Racing showed the strength of their organization all night, leading a combined 375 laps of the 400 total, as well as having periods of the team’s four cars performing as the top four on track. The No. 20 Dollar General Toyota team celebrated in Victory Lane, noting the dramatic statement they’ve made in the final race of the regular season.
“I feel like as a company right now, we’re stronger than we were in ’13,” Kenseth said. “We had a lot of different things happen, where all four of us now have been able to win races and we’re all in the Chase. I feel like all four teams are really competitive. I think we were one through four at one point tonight. I feel like as a company, we’re stronger this year.”
Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch finished second, followed by Joey Logano in third, Aric Almirola in fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounding out the top-five.
“I had fun running with Matt (Kenseth) or trying to run with Matt.” Kyle Busch said. “I could only do it for about 10 or 20 laps and then he’d just start driving away. His car was really, really good on the long runs, so good job to those guys on being in victory lane again for Joe Gibbs Racing. We had a fun night tonight. We fought hard, we battled a little bit there with some guys and had to work on our car, but M&M’s Crispy is back, I’m sure, and we’re back in the Chase, so ready to rock and roll.”
Almirola fought hard into the top-five, looking to gain a spot into the Chase with a win, but with a fourth place finish, he came up short and was unable to enter the Chase on points.
“We worked our guts out all year long and tonight was no different,” Almirola said. “I feel we have overachieved this year and really maximized our results week in and week out. I am disappointed to come up a few spots short but we gave it all we had and that is all we can do. We will go race these last 10 races and try to get a victory.”
Only two cautions of the night were the result of on-track incidents. On Lap 39, Martin Truex Jr. made contact with the wall after running across oil on the track, and on Lap 113, Michael Annett made hard contact with the inside wall following contact on the track.
During the debris caution on Lap 190, Michael McDowell hit the safety truck, causing significant damage to the rear end of his car. No one in the safety truck was injured.
Following tonight’s race, the Chase grid was determined after the bubble drivers settled their spots on points, while the top-11 drivers in the Chase grid earned their spots by wins.
Jimmie Johnson will kick-off the Chase on top, followed by Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer rounded out the final spots in the Chase grid.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits the track again next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway for the MyAFIBRisk400.com on Sunday, September 20, The race will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3:00 p.m. ET.