Saturday, March 8, 2014
The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Matt Kenseth is proving to be unbeatable at Kansas Speedway.
SUNDAY'S SPRINT CUP RACE AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Hollywood Casino 400
WHEN: 2 p.m.
WHERE: Kansas Speedway (oval, 1.5 miles), Kansas City, Kan.
DISTANCE: 400.5 miles, 267 laps
TELEVISION: ESPN, 1 p.m.
LAST YEAR: Matt Kenseth won the caution-marred race. He also won at the track this April.
LAST WEEK: Jimmie Johnson raced to his record eighth victory at Dover, holding off Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. Johnson has six victories this season.
FAST FACTS: The race is the fourth in the 10-race Chase. ... Kenseth, the winner of the first two Chase races at Chicagoland and New England, leads the season standings - eight points ahead of Johnson. ... Kenseth has a series-high seven wins this year. ... Johnson has a record 23 Chase victories in 93 starts. ... Clint Bowyer is from Emporia, Kan.
NEXT RACE: Bank of America 500, Oct. 12, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
1. Matt Kenseth, 2,149
2. Jimmie Johnson, 2,141
3. Kyle Busch, 2,137
4. Kevin Harvick, 2,110
5. Jeff Gordon, 2,110
6. Greg Biffle, 2,108
7. Ryan Newman, 2,101
8. Clint Bowyer, 2,098
9. Kurt Busch, 2,094
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2,092
11. Carl Edwards, 2,084
12. Joey Logano, 2,083
13. Kasey Kahne, 2,071
The winner of the last two Sprint Cup races at the track, Kenseth got into his Nationwide car and drove it to victory Saturday, taking advantage of a controversial late-race wreck that involved Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch to conserve enough fuel for the end.
"We had a lot of speed right off the truck. It felt really good," Kenseth said. "I thought it was the best car we had all year at an open track."
Kenseth crossed the finish line well ahead of Paul Menard, who got around Regan Smith on the final lap to take second. Busch finished fourth and Justin Allgaier was fifth.
The outcome was almost an afterthought, though, to the renewal of a long-standing feud between Keselowski and Busch that has threatened to spill over into Sunday's Sprint Cup race.
Their teams locked in a battle for the owner's championship, the two were side-by-side in the closing laps when Busch got into Keselowski's left rear. That sent the No. 22 car backing into the outside wall and knocking Keselowski out of the race.
Keselowski angrily jumped out of his car and, rather than hop into the ambulance, jogged over the grass toward pit road. He gestured wildly at Busch's crew before finally running to the infield care center -- a long jog that did little to quell his temper.
"I got wrecked by a dirty driver. There's no other way of putting it," Keselowski said. "I've raced him really cool over the last year to be respectful to him and trying to repair our relationship. I've watched him wreck my truck and cost me from winning races. He put me in the fence in Chicago in the truck race. Nationwide races, he's been pulling this crap.
"It's not going to last," Keselowski said, "I can tell you that."
Busch said that he wasn't trying to wreck Keselowski, and that he simply got tight coming out of the final corner. That forced the front of his car to drift toward the wall.
"It was hard racing. There were a lot of moments where I may be felt a little crowded," Busch said. "The contact that ultimately ended it, I just got real tight."
FORMULA ONE: Sebastian Vettel's extraordinary dominance of Formula One continued as he claimed the pole position for the Korean Grand Prix on Yeongam, South Korea.
The German has taken the pole for three straight races -- winning the first two. He's aiming for a third consecutive win at the Yeongam circuit and, most importantly, a fourth consecutive F1 championship.
INDYCAR: Scott Dixon made the opening race of the Houston Grand Prix a Penske Racing nightmare, grabbing a series-best fourth victory while slicing a huge chunk off Helio Castroneves' lead in the championship race.
Dixon, who entered Saturday's race in Texas trailing Castroneves by 49 points, cut his deficit to eight points heading into Sunday.
A sweep of the doubleheader through Reliant Park would put Dixon in control headed into the Oct. 19 season finale at Fontana, Calif.