BUSCH: Third times the charm for Kenseth in Fontana

BUSCH: Third times the charm for Kenseth in Fontana

FONTANA, CA - Matt Kenseth, driving the No. 17 Reiser Enterprises Ford, rocketed around the 2-mile D-shape oval at Fontana scoring his 13th career series win, and his first this season. Three of Kenseth's victories have been in ...

FONTANA, CA - Matt Kenseth, driving the No. 17 Reiser Enterprises Ford, rocketed around the 2-mile D-shape oval at Fontana scoring his 13th career series win, and his first this season. Three of Kenseth's victories have been in California.

Matt Kenseth and Michael Waltrip.
Photo by Tony Johns.
"Everything has been great," said Kenseth. "The crew did a great job. Our car worked good down low, so I was afraid to go high. The California Speedway is real fast. The one pit stop, we fell behind. That made it fun passing cars. I held a real good line. I just want to race and this is the best track we come to.

"I had a great crew on the car today. The guys did a good job in getting it tuned in. It is fun when everything goes your way."

Kenseth, the current Winston Cup point leader, took the lead for the first time at lap 32, but a pit road miscue on lap 43 caused Kenseth to re-pit to fix a missing lug nut sending him from first to worst. Kenseth patiently picked off the back of the pack and worked his way back to the catbird seat by lap 97.

The lead swapped between drivers as different pit strategies played out, but at lap 119 Kenseth took the lead for the last time and was untouchable. Even a late race caution at lap 141, did not provide the opportunity for the field to catch the No. 17 Ford. Kenseth pulled out to an eight-tenths of a second lead over the second place ride of Michael Waltrip and never had to look back.

"I am real proud of my team today," said Waltrip. "We simply got beat by a better car. We had a great day and I am real pleased with the car's performance.

"I am real proud of my team. We had the second best car out there today and we should be able to be No. 1 or No. 2 every week."

Pole sitter Kevin Harvick seemed unbeatable in the races early goings, pulling out at times to a ten-car length advantage over the field. The 2001 Busch series champion, however, did not have the horsepower to fend off the hard charging machines of Kenseth and Waltrip and faded through the top- ten. Harvick, however, sprang to life on the restart after the events final caution, powering the No. 21 Chevy from seventh to third.

"It was an up and down day to tell you the truth," commented Harvick. "I enjoy being at the race track and doing what we are doing.

"I have failed before. To succeed you have to first fail."

Randy Lajoie in trouble.
Photo by Tony Johns.

Kasey Khane was the highest finishing Busch series regular in fourth followed by championship point leader Todd Bodine in fifth.

Bodine advances his lead to 99-points over second place Ron Hornaday. David Green remains third followed by Shane Hmiel and Mike Bliss.

Coy Gibbs was the best rookie in today's competition. He brought the No. 18 Gibbs Chevy home 13th and sits 16th in the overall rankings.

Winston Cup stars once again stole the show from the Busch teams. Of the nine events ran this season, eight of them have been won by Winston Cup regulars. Five of today's top-ten finishers were full time Cup guys.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Randy Lajoie , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Coy Gibbs , Shane Hmiel , Mike Bliss