Yes He Kenseth
Matt Kenseth Wins SYLVANIA 300 When Harvick Runs Dry
A dominant afternoon went for naught for Kevin Harvick, who led 216 laps, but fell three laps short on fuel in Sunday's SYLVANIA 300, as Matt Kenseth sped past the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion on the backstretch and held on for the win.
It was Kenseth's fifth win of the season and second trip to the Magic Mile's Sunoco Victory Lane since September of 2013. The win was the second straight in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship for Joe Gibbs Racing, which has now won four straight races overall and 11 of the last 13 this season.
"With four or five laps left I didn't think I'd get there and really didn't think (Harvick) would run out of gas," said Kenseth, who ended New Hampshire Motor Speedway's bid at tying NASCAR's record of 13 straight different Cup winners. "I was surprised when I saw him run out, but we went for it and ran as hard as we could and it paid off."
Denny Hamlin, who won last week's Contender Round opener, finished second, followed by 2014 SYLVANIA 300 winner Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and pole-sitter Carl Edwards, who rallied back from a black flag penalty on Lap 137 to finish fifth.
Kenseth joins Hamlin with an automatic spot in the Chase's Contender Round, which will start in two weeks.
"It was a really good run for us today, we just came up a little short," said Hamlin, a two-time winner at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "We just have really been on a roll here lately, just getting good finishes and just everything is kind of clicking really well."
The third-place finish for Logano was his third straight top-five at New Hampshire and his eighth in his last 11 starts overall this season.
"The team did a great job today. We didn't have great speed early on, but we got better as the race wore on," said Logano. "You need blue collar days like today - it sets us up good for next week."
July race winner Kyle Busch had a tire go down with 139 laps to go and finished 37th. Busch now sits in 13th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings with one race left in the Challenger Round; the top 12 advance to the Contender Round.
Jeff Gordon, who made his 789th consecutive Cup Series start, closed out his career at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a seventh-place finish. It was a fitting 24th career top-10 finish in 42 career starts for Gordon at the Magic Mile.
"I mean, first when I laid my eyes on it, I was like, that's awesome that we get to ride in this around the track," said Gordon, who rode in a Boston Duck Tours duck boat around the 1.058-mile oval during SYLVANIA 300 pre-race. "It's a unique experience, and thanks to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for doing that, and my family got to go with me. It's rare that we get the team and my whole family (together) … so that was very special."
After a 42nd-place finish last week, Harvick, who started second, put himself in position to secure an automatic bid into the Contender Round. But a gamble on fuel mileage didn't pay off as the No. 4 machine slowed up on the backstretch coming out of Turn 2 and Kenseth was there to zip by and cruise to the Granite Stripe.
"You have to be there to put yourself in position to take advantage of those kinds of situations," said Kenseth. "We did that today and that's all you can ask for."
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