Kentucky Wrap-Up: Matt Kenseth's Gamble Pays Off
Matt Kenseth's late-race gamble paid off big Sunday as he cashed in on a series leading fourth victory of the season.
Kenseth's crew chief Jason Ratcliff decided to take fuel-only on the final round of pit stops, handing Kenseth the top spot over Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano. Kenseth maintained his lead on a wild four-wide restart on lap 246, but the field wouldn't make it out of turn 2 without another caution due to Johnson spinning.
Johnson, who led 182 of 267 laps, was forced to pit road for four tires and adjuments, dropping him back to 25th on the final restart.
Kenseth made the most of clean air, beating Jamie McMurray to the line by 0.699 seconds to win Sunday's re-scheduled Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Clint Bowyer finished third, Logano fourth and Kyle Busch fifth.
"I didn't think there was any way that we were going to hold on for that win," Kenseth said in victory lane. "(Jason Ratcliff) made the right call at the right time and those guys got it done."
Johnson managed to salvage a ninth place finish, stretching his points lead to 38 over Carl Edwards.
Sunday's race was red-flagged for 18 minutes after a vicious wreck involving defending race winner Brad Keselowski. Contact with Kurt Busch sent Keselowski spinning across the track, collecting Greg Biffle, Travis Kvapil and Dave Blaney.
Kurt Busch would take full responsibility.