Perfect Friday for Kenseth
Matt Kenseth followed his record run for the Southern 500 pole with a victory in Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Kenseth took advantage of Kyle Busch's flat right rear tire with only two laps to go and went on to score his first series win of the year.
Busch was leading when Joe Nemechek crashed on the backstretch to set up a green-white-checkered finish and a shootout to the finish line.
But Busch, who was shooting for his 51st win in NASCAR's top three divisions, rolled down pit road with the flat before the final dash could take place to end his quest for a second-straight Nationwide win.
On the final restart, Kenseth pulled away from the field and had his win sealed when Morgan Shepherd spun to bring out the night's final caution and officially end the race.
“Kyle was a little better when he was in front. In that last run I was catching him and thought I could at least put some pressure on him and make him work for it,” said Kenseth.
However Kenseth knew had Busch not had trouble he would have had his hands full.
"We were a little better at the end, but you have to be more than a little better to pass here. You have to be quite a bit better and get the run you’re looking for,” said Kenseth.
“Kyle is so good everywhere. You know he is going to be tough to beat.”
Busch wound up leading 142 of the 153 laps but was credited with a 16th-place finish.
"That’s part of this sport," said Busch's crew chief Jason Ratcliff. "One day you’re on top then it can humble you pretty quick. Very thankful for this race team, very thankful for Z- Line and Toyota. We’ll just regroup and get them next week."
Kenseth's win was his 25th career series victory with his last win coming at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March of 2008.
Jason Leffler finished second for his fifth consecutive top 10 of the season.
“We keep clicking off these top fives and top 10s we are going to get a win soon,” Leffler said. “Our car was stout, but I was running my own race.”
Carl Edwards finished third and now trails Busch in the series standings by 37 points.
“Kyle had his flat tire so it was a good night for us in the points,” Edwards said. “Overall it wasn’t a bad night or a good night, it was a race.”
Erik Darnell and Justin Allgaier, who were both making their first starts at Darlington, rounded out the top five.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series now heads to Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday night, May 23rd.
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