Matt Kenseth Wins At Darlington For 3rd Victory Of The Season [VIDEO]
It was quite a week for Matt Kenseth. On appeal, NASCAR lowered the tough penalties against his team for an illegal engine part used at Texas Motor Speedway, then on Saturday night at Darlington he passed teammate Kyle Busch with 13 laps to go to win the Southern 500 for the first time. And it came without his regular crew chief. Jason Radcliffe sat out Saturday night after his one race suspension for the illegal part. Kenseth had won three Nationwide races at Darlington, but it was his first in the Cup series and it’s his third victory this season.
Denny Hamlin driving his first full race in over a month came in second. Recovering from a fractured vertebra he drove just 23 laps the week before at Talladega before being replaced by Brian Vickers.
Making his 700th straight career start Jeff Gordon came in third with Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick completing the Top Five.
Kyle Busch easily had the best car Saturday night leading 265 of 367 laps, but a cut tire pushed him back to sixth.
Kurt Busch set a qualifying record to win the pole and led 69 of the first 73 laps before his brother Kyle passed him. Kurt was involved in a wreck with Brad Keselowski and Casey Mears and finished 14th.
Johnson still leads the championship standings, 44 points up on Carl Edwards with Kenseth moving up to third, 59 points back.
Next up it’s off to Charlotte on Saturday night for the Sprint All-Star Race.