By Amanda Vincent
Matt Kenseth dominated the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Sunday, leading 146 of the 200 laps that made up the race en route to his third win of the season. It was his second win in the last three races and the fifth for Joe Gibbs Racing in the last six races.
“We’ve had a great couple months,” Kenseth said. “We definitely have some momentum built. The guys gave us a rocket today. They’ve been giving us rockets the last couple of months, so we’re just going to work hard to keep it rolling.”
Kevin Harvick finished second, Martin Truex Jr. third, Austin Dillon fourth, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five.
Kenseth started on the pole and led until Dillon stayed out during the third caution of the race, a competition caution on lap 21, to restart the race with the lead. Dillon started the race in the back because of an engine change and then got off-sequence by pitting during a debris caution on lap 10.
“Well, I had fun,” Dillon said. “We gained a lot of spots, starting 43rd and got to fourth, where we qualified. Just overcame a lot today.
After staying out, Dillon was able to stay up front until he had to pit under green on lap 41, handing the lead back over to Kenseth.
Kenseth continued to run up front until pitting during a green-flag cycle around the halfway point of the race. Harvick pitted during a lap 72 caution, so he stayed out longer during the halfway green-flag cycle. He stayed out just a little too long, though, running out of fuel when he finally hit pit road on lap 114.
“We just fought a lot of things today,” Harvick said. “Just really proud of everybody on our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet for fighting back today. We had some handling issues at the beginning of the race, and then they were able to really make the car handle a lot better, and then we overcame running out of gas, there, and we were able to put ourselves back in position up in the front.”
The yellow flag waved for a fifth time on lap 120, and Carl Edwards and Dillon stayed out to resteart first and second, but when the race returned to green, Kenseth returned to the lead.
After Kenseth and Dillon battled for the top spot for several laps, Kenseth pitted for the last time under green on lap 164. When the lengthy cycle of stops completed, Kenseth was back up front with Harvick a distant second.
Kenseth had a 3.77-second lead over Harvick when the yellow flag waved for the eighth and final time with 17 laps to go, but when the race returned to green, Kenseth pulled away, again.
“The No. 20 (Kenseth) was the class of the field today, but everybody on our Jimmy John’s team did a great job,” Harvick said.
Finishing sixth through 10th were Edwards, Logano, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
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