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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.




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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)
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Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 LiftMaster Chevrolet, stands in the garage area with crew members during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
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