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NSCS: Matt Kenseth Outlasts Fuel Supply to Win at Pocono

Written by David on . Posted in Featured, Nascar Sprint Cup Series

John Harrelson / NKP

John Harrelson / NKP

Posted By: David Morgan – Follow at @damorgan86

August 2, 2015

On Sunday afternoon at Pocono, it was the tale of two races, with a crazy first half that included seven cautions transitioning into the second half of the race that was typical Pocono with long green flag runs being the order of the day and fuel mileage coming into play to determine the race winner.

As the laps wound down, fuel was a major concern among the race leaders Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex, Jr. and even though all three were saving as much as they could, the fuel mileage gamble did not pay off for any of the three.

With all three dropping from the lead in the final laps, it was Matt Kenseth who was able to capitalize to come home with the win, his first win at Pocono and second win of the season, which officially clinches a Chase berth for the 2003 series champion.

“We had a really fast Dollar General Camry today and I think it showed all day. I had real bad restarts but I thought we had one of the best cars here. So, just a big thanks for everybody at TRD and everybody at Dollar General, DeWalt and really everybody back at Joe Gibbs Racing. Man, they’ve been giving us some bullets lately and it feels good to get one today,” said Kenseth.

Following Kenseth to the line to round out the top-10 in the Windows 10 400 were Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, AJ Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, and Carl Edwards.

As for the three leaders who ran out of fuel, Truex wound finish 19th, Logano, who led the most laps on the day with 97 laps led, ended the day in 20th, and Kyle Busch fell all the way to 21st, the final car on the lead lap.

“It seems that I never come out ahead on these fuel mileage races. We thought we were going to be ok. I am sure other teams who ran out (of fuel) felt the same way. Yeah, it’s disappointing but what I am going to take away from this race is how our Furniture Row guys kept on making our Chevrolet better and better during the weekend. We were a contender today and in the big picture that’s the most important point for our team as we head into the Chase. We were rolling; we just needed a little more fuel to make it an even better weekend,” said Truex.

“I guess our numbers, from what Todd said, was good enough to make it by a half a lap. I was saving fuel just to cushion it. I thought I was going to be good and then I started running out and knew we weren’t going to make it. It was tough. We did everything right today. We had such a fast Shell Pennzoil Ford and got clean air and stayed up there and the pit crew did awesome on pit road and kept me up where I needed to. We keep getting so close to these wins and they don’t happen and it is so frustrating. The truth is that is if we keep racing hard and racing to the front we will win races. We were so close. You are counting down the laps in your head thinking you are going to make it but just didn’t do it. I am so proud still of what we did today and it was a great weekend and we are happy about the speed we have in our cars and the way we executed, we just have to figure out why we didn’t have enough gas,” Logano said.

Busch was in a position to clinch a Chase berth by making it into the top-30 in points, but with his finish, Busch still finds himself on the outside looking in, 13 points from 30th, with five races remaining until the Chase begins.

“I didn’t know we were that close. Normally when we’re close or that close I get harped on pretty hard to save fuel. They were just telling me to save just to not put too much pressure on the car and everything else. Man, that’s a bummer. I wish I would’ve saved a little more there that last run. I wish I would’ve known that the 22 (Joey Logano) was that far away from making it. He was way far away from making it. Man, that was just a shame that we weren’t able to get it done there. But, this M&M’s Crispy Camry again I can’t thank my guys enough — Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everybody. We’ve got fast race cars right now so congratulations to Matt Kenseth for winning today for Joe Gibbs Racing and everybody at home can continue the celebration although it’s not the right JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) car for the 18 it’s certainly good for the company,” said Busch after the race.