At Texas Motor Speedway, they fire pistols in victory lane. On Saturday night Matt Kenseth drove around the 1.5 mile track faster then bullet claiming his first victory since California in 2009.
For Matt Kenseth it had been 76 races since he spotted his #17 Ford Fusion in victory lane. That steak ended Saturday night when Kenseth led a race high 169 laps on his way to his second career victory at Texas.
It wasn’t just Kenseth leading laps. It was Kenseth leading by almost a full lap at times. Kenseth finished over eight seconds ahead of second place Clint Bowyer who led 44 laps. Teammates Carl Edwards (3rd), Greg Biffle (4th) and David Ragan (7th, pole) punctuated a great day for the Roush Fenway Racing organization. Marcos Ambrose made it five Fords in the top-7 as he placed his Richard Petty Motorsports Ford in sixth.
Kenseth started 2009 w2ith a bang winning the first two races at Daytona and California before spirialing out of chase contention. Last season he led a total of 108 laps over 36 events, snuck into the Chase and finished fifth in the overall standings thanks in part to three top-10’s to end the year.
This year Kenseth entered Texas with finishes of fourth at Bristol and California before finishing sixth last week at Martinsville, a track he had histrionically struggled at.
Kenseth was openly optimistic following qualifying. After qualifying fourth he noted that good things were to be expected this weekend and he didn’t disappoint.
“I’ve said it after every win, but especially after over two years, I didn’t know if I’d ever have a chance to get here again,” Kenseth said.
“We had a packed house tonight, and it probably wasn’t the closest finish for them, but we had great racing all night.”
That’s not to say the race wasn’t without incident for Kenseth. During a restart early in th event he made contact with the slower #71 car of Andy Lally who had opted to stay out on the track with old tires. Kenseth scrapped the passenger side of his car up but was fortunate to avoid any serious damage.
Despite Kenseth winning by 8.315 seconds Saturday nights race at Texas was one of the better races of the season. Kenseth led 169 of 334 laps of a race which saw five cautions and ended with a 114-lap run to the flag. There were multiple green flag pit stops during the race, and close racing all across the 1.5 mile track.