Matt Kenseth earns 2nd win in last three starts, dominates Pure Michigan 400


Matt Kenseth continued to ride a wave of recent momentum, earning his second win in the last three races, capturing Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Kenseth dominated en route to his third win of the season, adding to his triumph at Pocono two weeks ago and at Bristol early in the season.

Kenseth dominated, leading 146 of 200 laps for his third career win at the 2-mile track.

Kenseth has recorded two wins, four top fives and six top-10 finishes in the last six races.

Kevin Harvick finished second, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin.

MORE: Results, earnings and stats for the Sprint Cup’s Pure Michigan 400

MORE: Kyle Busch builds gap; Clint Bowyer’s margin shrinks in Sprint Cup points

HOW KENSETH WON: Kenseth took the lead for the final time when David Ragan pitted on Lap 176. Then, on the final restart on Lap 188, Kenseth got past Austin Dillon going into Turn 1 and sailed on to win. Kenseth had a car that was the class of the field “The guys gave us a rocket today,” he said. “They’ve given us rockets the last couple months.”

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD DAY: Kyle Busch remained in the Top 30 in the Sprint Cup points standings to be Chase eligible despite starting at the back of the field due to going to a backup car following an incident in Saturday’s final practice. … Austin Dillon led 19 laps and finished a career-best fourth, only his second career top-five finish in his Sprint Cup career. … Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel on Lap 115 but rallied to finish second. … Ryan Newman suffered minor damage in Clint Bowyer’s wreck on Lap 127, but recovered to finish eighth. … After disappointing finishes at Pocono and Watkins Glen, Martin Truex Jr. bounced back to finish third Sunday.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: On Lap 116, even though he had the last spot on pit road (and first coming off the racetrack), Jimmie Johnson missed his pit stall and had to back up, costing him a number of positions and a potential chance at victory. Johnson spun on Lap 183 and suffered heavy damage to his front splitter when he ran into the infield grass. Johnson finished 39th. … On Lap 127, Clint Bowyer spun and hit both the outside and inside retaining walls, causing significant damage to his car. He finished 41st.

NOTABLE: Joe Gibbs Racing remains the hottest team in the series. Three of its four drivers finished in the top six (Kenseth won, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards were fifth and sixth), while Kyle Busch finished 11th. … On Lap 130, Tony Stewart got loose and spun while attempting to get back on the lead lap. Stewart finished 21st. Other than Harvick, it was not a great day for the rest of the Stewart-Haas Racing lineup: Kurt Busch, who won at MIS in June, finished 20th. Danica Patrick was 25th. … With Clint Bowyer having a bad day, Aric Almirola closed the gap on Bowyer in the standings. Bowyer is 16th on the Chase grid with three races remaining, but Almirola is 23 points behind.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s early to talk favorites. There’s still so much racing to do. You have 16 teams that are capable of winning races, as well as championships. It’s one week at a time.” – Matt Kenseth, who earned his second victory in the last three races Sunday at Michigan, on if it’s time to start picking favorites for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

WHAT’S NEXT: NASCAR returns to Bristol for the Irwin Tools Night Race on Saturday evening, Aug. 22. Green flag is 7:30 pm ET.

Follow @JerryBonkowski


Bump and Run: All-Star Race picks, surprising wins and more

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Who will have a more wrecked winning car — Erik Jones, who was listed as being involved in three accidents on the way to winning the non-points Busch Clash in February, or the winner of Wednesday night’s All-Star Race at Bristol?

Dustin Long: Erik Jones’ car. Might not be by much.

Daniel McFadin: Erik Jones. It would take a lot for someone to make it to the end of the All-Star Race with more damage than that and win … unless that damage came on the last lap.

Jerry Bonkowski: The winner of the All-Star Race. With $1 million on the line, it’s unlikely any car will get through the race without some damage. The driver with the least damage wins, period.


Who is your pick to win the All-Star Race?

Dustin Long: Joey Logano. He isn’t afraid to beat and bang. This could be his race.

Daniel McFadin: Jimmie Johnson. He’s pissed off, has been fast and was a frontrunner at Bristol back in May.

Jerry Bonkowski: Kurt Busch. I’m going to go with a guy who knows his way around Bristol quite well and who has had a great deal of success there.


What do you put the chances that Jimmie Johnson makes the playoffs?

Dustin Long: 85%. He’s already been disqualified from one race, losing all but one point from that event, and missed Indy, and is still in a playoff spot. It might not be comfortable for his fans, but I don’t think they should sweat it too much.

Daniel McFadin: 90%. He’s been too fast to not make the playoffs in some form.

Jerry Bonkowski: I’m convinced Johnson will make the playoffs, but his success and consistency needs a big jump upward, lest JJ is eliminated at the end of the first round.


Cole Custer’s win was surprising. So what’s the most surprising NASCAR win since you’ve seen since following the sport?

Dustin Long: The one that comes to mind immediately is James Buescher’s 2012 Xfinity Series win at Daytona. He was 11th entering the final corner. He won when the top 10 cars wrecked. It was his first NASCAR win and only Xfinity Series victory.

Daniel McFadin: If not Trevor Bayne’s Daytona 500 win, it would be Chase Elliott‘s Roval win last year. He drove nose first into a tire barrier, came back and won. It was shocking to say the least.

Jerry Bonkowski: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win in the summer race at Daytona in July 2001, less than five months after his father was killed in the Daytona 500. That was one of the most surprising and emotional wins in any sport I’ve covered in my career.

NASCAR Open starting lineup at Bristol

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Michael McDowell will start on the pole for the NASCAR Open at Bristol Motor Speedway after a random draw. Aric Almirola joins him on the front row.

Click here for NASCAR Open starting lineup

The winners of each segment advance to the All-Star Race, along with the fan vote winner. Last year, Kyle Larson won a segment in the Open to advance to the All-Star Race and then won that event. Other segment winners last year were William Byron and Bubba Wallace. Alex Bowman advanced through the fan vote a year ago. Bowman has already qualified for this year’s All-Star Race.


NASCAR Open at Bristol 

Race Time: 7 p.m. ET Wednesday

Track: Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tennessee (0.533-mile speedway)

Length: 85 laps over three segments, 45.3 miles

Segments: Segment 1 is 35 laps. Segment 2 is 35 laps. Segment 3 is 15 laps.

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Xfinity race: Saturday at Texas (200 laps, 300 miles), 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Next Truck race: Saturday at Texas (167 laps, 250.5 miles) 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Martin Truex Jr. to start on pole for All-Star Race at Bristol

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Martin Truex Jr., who is seeking his first All-Star Race win, will start on the pole for Wednesday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway after a random draw.

Truex will be joined on the front row by Alex Bowman.

Rookie Cole Custer, who earned a spot in the All-Star Race with his win Sunday at Kentucky, will start eighth.

Click here for All-Star Lineup

  • Positions 17-19 will go to segment winners from the NASCAR Open. The 20th starting spot goes to the fan vote winner, which will be announced after the NASCAR Open

Among the special rules for the race:

# The Chose Rule will be used. As drivers approach a designated spot on the track, they must commit to the inside or outside lane for the restart.

# The car number will move from the door toward the rear wheel to give sponsors more exposure.

# Cars that have automatically qualified for the All-Star Race will have underglow lights on their cars.


NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol 

Race Time: 8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

Track: Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tennessee (0.533-mile speedway)

Length: 140 laps over four segments, 74.6 miles

Segments: Segment 1 is 55 laps. Segment 2 is 35 laps. Segment 3 is 35 laps. Segment 4 is 15 laps (only green flag laps count in this segment).

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Xfinity race: Saturday at Texas (200 laps, 300 miles), 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Next Truck race: Saturday at Texas (167 laps, 250.5 miles) 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Xfinity playoff grid after Kentucky doubleheader

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The Xfinity Series went to Kentucky Speedway for a doubleheader and Austin Cindric left the track with two wins and a spot in the playoffs.

Cindric, who claimed the first oval track NASCAR wins of his career, is now third on the playoff grid among the six drivers locked into the postseason. He has 15 playoff points.

Noah Gragson, who is second on the grid, won three of four stages in Kentucky and has 18 playoff points.

Six spots remain to be filled on the playoff grid. The last two drivers currently in the top 12 are Ryan Sieg (+57 points above cutline) and Brandon Brown (+14).

The first four drivers outside the top 12 are Myatt Snider (-14 points from cutline), Jeremy Clements (-30), Alex Labbe (-42) and Jesse Little (-47).