Kenseth takes Stage 2 win at Bristol
Matt Kenseth picked up his third stage win of 2017 on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Kenseth held a .836-second advantage over Jimmie Johnson at the line followed by Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott.
Jones’ No. 77 Furniture Row Racing crew gave him the lead out of the pits to start the second segment. Larson, Kenseth, Hamlin, Elliott, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Truex, Johnson, Harvick, Blaney, Stenhouse, Newman, Bayne and McMurray rounded out the top 15.
In the first five laps, Harvick shot up to the top five. Kenseth, Truex, Elliott, Logano and Blaney rounded out the top 10.
By Lap 144, Blaney got impatient with Logano and used his bumper to move into the top 10.
After 25 laps, Jones lead was .448-seconds over Busch followed by Hamlin, Larson, Harvick, Kesenth, Truex, Elliott, Blaney and Stenhouse.
Forty laps in, Busch had closed to within .113-seconds of Jones and made the move on Lap 166. Larson worked the top to catch third-place Hamlin. Jones radioed to his crew he couldn’t work the top because he had no lateral grip. Larson passed Hamlin on the backstretch on Lap 174 for third. Harvick continued to run fifth with Truex, Kenseth, Elliott, Stenhouse and Johnson rounding out the top 10.
Jones regained the lead from Busch on Lap 180 when the Toyotas hit traffic. Larson ran third, followed by Hamlin and Harvick. Jones continued to work the low line and built a .629-second advantage over Busch in the first 10 laps. Larson trailed Busch by a second-and-a-half.
Jones attempted to nudge Paul Menard out of the way on the backstretch, but as he battle the No. 27 Chevy, Busch went high through Turns 1 and 2 for the lead on Lap 198. On the next circuit, Stenhouse, who was running in the top 10, developed a flat tire and slid into the wall.
Busch led the field onto pit road on Lap 202 followed by Jones, Larson, Hamlin, Harvick, Truex, Kenseth, Elliott, Johnson, Bowyer, Blaney, Bayne, Logano, McMurray and Suarez.
The race returned to green on Lap 207 with Busch in the lead followed by Jones, Hamlin, Larson, Truex, Kenseth, Harvick, Elliott, Bowyer, Johnson and Blaney. But Truex had a loose wheel and returned to the pits. During the service, the team had a tire get away and the No. 78 car fell off the lead lap in 27th.
Jones stalled on the restart and Larson moved up to second followed by Kenseth, Jones, Elliott, Hamlin, Johnson, Logano, Harvick, Bowyer and McMurray. By Lap 216, Larson fell to fourth behind Busch.
Elliott passed Larson for fourth on Lap 217, Johnson was sixth followed by Hamlin, Harvick, Bowyer and Blaney. On the next lap, Hamlin passed Johnson. AJ Allmendinger came into the pits on Lap 220 with a left rear tire rub.
With 25 laps remaining, Busch’s lead over Kenseth was .484-seconds. Jones ran third followed by Larson, Elliott, Hamlin, Harvick, Johnson, Blaney and Bowyer.
The fourth caution of the race was called on Lap 231 when Austin Dillon, who was running 26th, spun in Turn 4 and collected Jeffrey Earnhardt. Busch held the point followed by Kenseth, Jones, Larson, Elliott, Hamlin, Johnson, Harvick, Blaney, Bowyer, Logano, McMurray, Newman, Suarez and Kurt Busch.
Kenseth remained on the track at took the lead on Lap 240 with Johnson, Harvick, Newman, Earnhardt and Menard. Busch, Jones, Larson, Hamlin, Logano, McMurray, Suarez, Elliott, Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Trevor Bayne pitted.
The race returned to green on Lap 244. Kenseth held the point and extended his lead by .797-seconds over Johnson with one lap to decide the segment. Kenseth won the stage but received a speeding penalty and dropped to 21st for the third stage.
Kyle Busch wins Stage 1 at Bristol with last-lap pass on Larson
Kyle Busch completes Bristol hat trick with Cup win