UPDATE (6:30 p.m. ET)
Matt Kenseth’s car failed the post-race laser inspection. Kenseth and the No. 20 team will likely be penalized this week, though it’s highly doubtful the win will be taken away. It’s much more likely Kenseth won’t receive bonus points at the start of the Chase for this win and will be assessed a regular season points penalty. It’s also very likely crew chief Jason Ratcliff will be penalized as well.
We’ll update this post if and when details regarding Kenseth’s inspection failure become available.
— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) July 17, 2016
Matt Kenseth pulled away from Joey Logano and Tony Stewart over the final 11 laps at New Hampshire on Sunday to grab his second-straight win at the track.
Kenseth took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. with 44 laps to go. But he lost the lead when a caution came out (for a water bottle, apparently) and teammate Denny Hamlin stayed out on track with 36 laps to go.
But Kenseth got past Hamlin with 29 laps to go and kept the lead throughout three more restarts. Two of those cautions were for flat tires due to rubbing sheetmetal (Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott and then Kurt Busch) and the other that set up the race’s final restart was for a crash on the backstretch involving Kyle Larson, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman.
Kenseth was able to keep the lead thanks to having the preferred outside line throughout the final flurry of restarts. Whoever restarted on the inside couldn’t keep up as the field would hurtle towards turn 1.
Stewart ended up second after he passed Logano with four laps to go. By the time he got past the No. 22, he was two seconds behind Kenseth and had no chance of competing for the win. Logano barely held off Kevin Harvick for third.
Truex, who passed Kyle Busch on pit road to take the lead with 73 laps to go, lost his chance at a win because of transmission issues. The problems came up during the caution for the water bottle as Truex’s shifter handle had broken and the car was stuck in fourth gear.
After restarting sixth, Truex fell to 15th on the restart as his car couldn’t accelerate like everyone else because of the lack of gears. He ended up finishing 16th.
Kenseth won at New Hampshire in the fall of 2015 during the Chase because of Kevin Harvick’s misfortune. Harvick was leading late and ran out of gas with three laps to go, handing the lead and win over to Kenseth.
It’s the 38th win of Kenseth’s career and the second of his 2016 campaign. He won in May at Dover as he held off Kyle Larson and joins Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards as drivers with two wins this season.
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