[media-credit name=”Steven Iles” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]Throughout the night, Matt Kenseth made it clear that he was there to win and at the end after all the strategy played it course, Kenseth was in the lead with 13 to go and went on to win.
“After two years, I didn’t know if I could get back to here again,” Kenseth said. “I give a lot of credit to Jimmy Fennig and the guys on this team for working as hard as they do.”
Midway through the race, it looked as though his chances at his 19th career victory were in jeopardy as he didn’t get enough fuel on a pit stop. Though with the tires falling off as much as they were, when he pitted, the rest of the field soon followed so they wouldn’t lose time.
“The key was running up front,” Kenseth said. “Even when we got behind when we had to pit, we ended up forcing the field to pit due to the tires so that was the key.”
Finishing in second was Clint Bowyer, who was leading with 86 to go when he made a huge save after running up on Brian Vickers while trying to put him down a lap.
“That was my fault; totally my fault,” Bowyer said. “To come up on those lappers, they hold us up so much. I thought I got by him, though we made contact and I thought I was done at that point.”
Third-place belonged to Matt Kenseth’s Roush-Fenway teammate Carl Edwards, who at the beginning of the race, was feeling sick.
“I am all hopped up on pepto bismo,” Edwards said. “I hate to throw my mom under the bus, but she cooked something last night and I don’t think it was good.
“Matt and those guys did a great job. I gotta say congratulations to them. The good thing is we know what they got in their car so we can work on that and I can’t wait for the next one at Darlington.”
Greg Biffle and Paul Menard rounded out the top five. Marcos Ambrose finished sixth with pole sitter David Ragan seventh, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch. Tony Stewart looked to finish third, though ran out of gas on the final lap, resulting in a 12th place finish, behind Jeff Burton.
The main incident of the race was with 120 to go when Kevin Harvick slighlty bumped Martin Truex Jr., sending him into Mark Martin and Regan Smith. Harvick said on his radio after the incident that he noticed Truex slowing up, tried to go left to avoid him, but they still made contact.
“We’re okay,” Mark Martin said. “Just pile up in front and I wailed a couple, I think Martin in the wall, a couple other walls. It’s racing.
“I didn’t have any steering after the first hit so I hit the outside and then the inside twice so that’s what you have sometimes when you’re racing. We were having a bad night and it ended up worse.”
“Unfortunate deal for the NAPA Toyota,” Mark Truex Jr. said. “We were struggling tonight. We were running our butts off running 16th. We made a mistake on pit road and got back there. Once you make one mistake, you got to battle twice as hard to get back up there.
“The 2 checked up, I checked and I got hit from behind. You get back there, you get desperate and you take two tires and get yourself as trouble.”
With his third place finish, Carl Edwards now leads the points, nine points over Kyle Busch, who finished 16th.