Matt Kenseth put the heat on Jamie McMurray with three laps to go, to make the pass for the lead and grab his second win of the season. McMurray looked poised to finally earn his first win since 2002 but his car started to fall off in the closing...
Matt Kenseth put the heat on Jamie McMurray with three laps to go, to make the pass for the lead and grab his second win of the season. McMurray looked poised to finally earn his first win since 2002 but his car started to fall off in the closing laps of the 400-mile event at Dover International Speedway.
Kenseth worked on McMurray for two laps before he was finally able to stick the No. 17 Roush Ford out front to earn his 12th career win.
"It was great," said Kenseth of his run. "We had a great car all day. We made the right adjustments to the car. We had a plan and we stuck with it. That is by far the best we have ever performed here."
McMurray, who turned 30 over the weekend, led a race high 95 laps but had to settle for second. It is his best finish of the season.
"Yeah, I am very disappointed, especially to come that close," said McMurray. "I was like three or four laps or something from the end, and when Matt passed me I lost all momentum. I went up to kind of block him, and when I did I lost all my speed."
Kevin Harvick was third, "That's all I had. I felt like if I could have cleared the 26 it would have been different. I needed to run up a little bit and he was able to keep me down there but that's what you got to do here. It was a lot of fun.the 17 had a great car and was just a little bit better in the corners but it was a good day for our GM Goodwrench Chevrolet."
Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch complete the top five.
"We were way too tight at the end," commented Burton. "I was kind of hoping something crazy might happen. The way it looked something crazy could have happened. It didn't work out for us. We'll just keep plugging away and putting great effort out there. If we do that, the day will come."
The two big storylines of the race involved championship hopefuls, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. Point leader Jimmie Johnson spun in qualifying and was forced to start 42nd and share a pit stall with Scott Wimmer and the No. 4 team. The majority of the day Wimmer was running better than Team 48 allowing the No. 4 car to pit first.
Under the first pit stop, Johnson was forced to pit second which mired the Johnson one lap down in the 40th position on for most of the first half of the event. Troubles mounted on lap 274, Johnson was running a lap down in 24th when he made contact with the No. 40 and took a slide across the race track.
But as is typical of this team they fought back all afternoon and wound up getting their lap back and garnering a sixth place finish.
"It was a great fight," said Johnson. "We didn't have the speed at the beginning of the race. We just had to adjust on it. We got down a lap and fought from there. Once we got back on the lead lap we had the car much more stable and underneath me and I could race them. We worked our way back up there. I wish this was a 500-mile race and it may have been a victory for the Lowe's team."
Stewart, racing with a fractured scapula, had Ricky Rudd standing by to switch driving duties under the first caution. Stewart was forced to start the event so the points for the race would be credited to him. Stewart started last since Rudd qualified the No. 20 Chevrolet and had worked his way to 25th when the first caution fell on lap 37.
Stewart and Rudd made the exchange with little difficulty, with Rudd restarting 38th still on the lead lap. Stewart spent the rest of the race atop the 20 pit box with crew chief Greg Zipadelli.
"This isn't very much fun I can tell you that," said Stewart. "It's hard to explain to people how hard it is to get out of your own race car.Not a very fun way to spend the day. If I can sit up here all day and do something to help us, to get back to the top ten, Ricky has done an awesome job all weekend. I am confident we can get him some track position with an adjustment or two. It will be an awesome day for us."
Rudd ran around in the top-20, but was assessed a pass thru penalty for being too fast entering pit road on lap 210. He fell two laps down, he wound up finishing 25th.
Jimmie Johnson continues to lead the NASCAR Nextel Cup series point standings. Matt Kenseth (-74), Mark Martin (-216), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (- 282), Tony Stewart (-293), Kasey Kahne (-296), Jeff Burton (-396), Kevin Harvick (-420), Jeff Gordon (-428) and Kyle Busch (-439) complete the top ten.
There were nine cautions for 51 laps and 23 lead changes among 12 drivers.