Matt Kenseth Wins At Bristol, Clinches Spot In Chase

Matt Kenseth won the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, holding off Kasey Kahne for the win. The Joe Gibbs racer also clinched his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

It was a familiar site, as Kahne has now run second to Kenseth in three races — the first two times were in March at Las Vegas and in April at Kansas.

Kahne moved into second on Lap 473 of 500, but Kenseth won the heated battle on inferior tires and a fuel tank close to empty, reports NASCAR.

The victory at Bristol was Kenseth’s fifth of the year, enough to secure him in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Following Kenseth and Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya ran third, Brian Vickers sat in fourth, and Joey Logano crossed the line in fifth.

While Matt Kenseth celebrated in Victory Lane, Kasey Kahne’s disappointment at not winning was palpable. In a post-race interview, the Hendrick driver commented, “I think, at the end of the day, I just don’t wreck people.”

The comment was partially a dig at the Joe Gibbs racers and also a testament to Kahne’s actions on the track. When it came down to it, the No. 5 driver could have raced Kenseth dirty. But rather than doing that, and risking putting them both out of contention, Kahne raced Kenseth cleanly

ESPN notes that the Hendrick driver certainly had a bone to pick with Kenseth too. Contact between the two ended Kahne’s race at Watkins Glen earlier this month. It wasn’t the first time a Joe Gibbs driver had done it either.

Kahne took to Twitter to voice his frustration with the organization, writing, “Headed to Joe Gibbs racing to talk to whoever will come out front #that’s4.” The tweet was a reference to the fourth time a driver from the organization had wrecked him.

The driver added after the race, “I just didn’t get it done and I’m upset with myself for not figuring out how to win.” Kenseth had kind words for his fellow driver. He commented from Victory Lane:

“Kasey’s as good as they get and he’s a clean driver. He raced as hard as he could, we ran out of room off [turn] four, we were both digging as hard as we could to try to get it. Kasey’s just an unbelievable talent, he wanted it bad.”

So, while Matt Kenseth won the race at Bristol, we can expect Kasey Kahne to try even harder next week as he hopes to keep his spot in the Chase.

[Image via Action Sports Photography /]