Matt Kenseth on Charlotte finish: 'I just didn't have what it takes'
When Matt Kenseth beat Jimmie Johnson off pit road with 19 laps remaining in Sunday's rain-delayed Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it seemed Kenseth was in position to win the race.
He was. But he didn't.
Kenseth, in fact, held the lead for less than a full lap.
"I ran wide open through (Turns) 1 and 2. I was right where I wanted to be going into Turn 3, and then he just drove right by me. I just didn't have that kind of speed."
Kenseth did still have enough speed to finish second to Johnson. It was his third consecutive top-five finish in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and gives him a leg up in the playoffs that will continue next weekend at Kansas.
Sunday's race was the first in the Round of 12, with the Chase trimmed by four drivers to eight after this three-race stretch that includes Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega.
"We ran second and it was a good run for us," Kenseth said. "We had a pretty good three or four weeks, so hopefully we'll just keep that up."
Kenseth's finish may not be quite what he wanted Sunday, but it was especially impressive considering he had to overcome two penalties.
First, Kenseth was sent to the back of the field at the start because of an unapproved body change to his No. 20 Toyota. Then the team was penalized for having a man over the wall too soon on an early pit stop.
Kenseth was able to recover both times, in large part because his team's pit stops were on the money the rest of the day.
"They did a great job. Honestly, the last two years in a row pretty much Charlotte has kind of taken us out of the Chase -- mostly my doing, but different things happening the last couple years here," Kenseth said.
"So we had a lot of problems last year, and this year we had a lot of problems again. But we were able to kind of rebound from them and just kind of take our time. We knew it was a long day and they had good pit stops, good strategy and got us back where we needed to be there at the end."