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2013 Kansas NASCAR: Kenseth clinches a second for JGR

Matt Kenseth claimed victory in the eighth Cup race of 2013 with a narrow win over Kasey Kahne after leading for most of the STP 400.
A second win for new team Joe Gibbs Racing left Matt Kenseth walking on air after the end of a very successful weekend in Kansas for the #20 driver and his crew, which hadn't put a foot wrong all weekend.

"I really feel like I'm living a dream, this is a dream come true," said Kenseth in victory lane after clinching victory in the STP 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon. "This is such a fast race car obviously, [to] be on the pole and really a dominant race team.

"I knew the first time I talked to these guys, I really started to feel it - these guys really are contenders. They're an awesome race team and I'm glad to be with them," he added, while quick to say that he wasn't taking this dream start to the new stage in his Cup career for granted.

"Standing here right now you don't know if or when you'll ever win again," he admitted. "Our cars have been so incredibly fast all year and we don't have all the finishes to show for it, but I'm so thankful to have another win and hopefully that will get us up there a little bit in the points."

It almost looked as though this weekend's Kansas race was going to be another to file in the 'close, but no cigar' column, since despite leading for 163 of the 267 laps of the three hour race Kenseth suddenly started to struggle near the end and came under growing threat from Hendrick Motorsports' Kasey Kahne who was closing fast.

"With about 15 to go my car turned loose and especially into turn 3. Almost lost it two or three times and gave up probably a second a lap to him. I was afraid he was going to get me - one more lap and he probably would have," Kenseth admitted. "I got really loose getting into 3 ... I actually did it twice in a row and thought we were going to get beat."

Kenseth managed to hold on and crossed the finish line just 0.151s ahead of Kahne, who had to be content with second place - which was still good enough to boost him into second place in the Cup point standings behind his team mate, five-time champion Jimmie Johnson.

"I needed clouds," said Kahne, explaining that the sun coming out near the end had really affected the handling of the #5. "We tightened up a little bit on that final run," adding that the choice not to put a full set of tyres on during either of his last two pit stops had also played a part. "I knew we were going to be a little loose but didn't think it would be quite that bad. Matt was fast and I just did everything I could and he would go to those spots and I couldn't make any ground."

Kenseth had earlier converted pole position to a lead for virtually the entire first 111 laps of the race, with just one exception during the first round of pit stops. That had already seen four of the race's eight cautions, with Dave Blaney and Elliott Sadler both eliminated from the race by accidents.




Related Pictures

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Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 The Home Depot/Husky Toyota, leads a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 21, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 The Home Depot/Husky Toyota, and Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, lead the field into turn one after passing the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 21, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 The Home Depot/Husky Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 21, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 AAA Ford, walks past his damaged car in the garage area after an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 21, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, drives his damaged car into the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 21, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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