Starting in pole position at Bristol Motor Speedway, Matt Kenseth battled for first place through a race that was delayed four times by rain, extended by 11 laps and included numerous cautions, driving the Joe Gibbs Racing #20 Toyota Camry to victory in the NASCAR Food City 500 on Sunday. Although Kenseth was in the lead position for only 47 of the 511 laps of Sunday’s race, he consistently remained among the top ten leaders while avoiding making any critical mistakes.
Kurt Busch looked set to win the race, but headed to pit road on a late caution, being the only driver among the leaders to do so, and when he rejoined the race he had fallen to sixth position. Matt Kenseth was followed by Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Newman in the top five positions for the rain-drenched 2015 Food City 500.
The start of Sunday’s race was delayed by nearly 90 minutes due to the rain, and was stopped three more times before the checkered flag came down. One delay lasted nearly four hours, but organizers were determined to stage a complete race and crowds of die-hard fans stuck around to witness Kenseth crossing the finish line. Other glitches in the events included Austin Dillon running out of gas, reportedly due to the lengthy final caution. Denny Hamlin failed to return to the track after the first break due to a neck-related health issue, and two Team Penske drivers were involved in a wreck twenty laps into the race.
Born in Cambridge, Wisconson, on March 10, 1972, Matt Kenseth started stock car racing at Madison International Speedway at the age of 16, driving a 1981 Camaro. He started competing in the Sprint Cup Series in 1998, filling in for Bill Elliot in the Winston Cup Series at Dover, where he finished in 6th place. His career has included a number of highlights and he has driven for various teams through the years. In September 2012 it was announced that Kenseth would be competing in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as part of the Joe Gibbs Racing Team, driving the #20 Toyota. He started the 2015 season by winning the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona, ahead of Martin Truex, Jr. and Carl Edwards in second and third places respectively.
Eight races into the 2015 season, currently Kevin Harvick is in the #1 spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, followed by (in order) Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Aric Almirola.
Joey Logano raced to victory in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, securing his spot in the eight-driver Eliminator round of NASCAR’s new Chase for the Sprint Cup format, irrespective of his performance in the next two races – the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway – the latter being one of four Sprint Cup races run with restrictor plates. The other three races run with restrictor plates are Aaron’s 499 (won in 2014 by Denny Hamlin), the Coke Zero 400 (won in 2014 by Aric Almirola), and the Daytona 500 (won in 2014 by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.).
Kevin Harvick started in pole position in Sunday’s race, finishing in 12th position. Starting in 4th position in the Team Penske #22 Ford, Joey Logano held the lead in 122 laps of the 267 lap race, notching up his 5th win of the season. Kyle Larson took 2nd place, followed by Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Carl Edwards in that order. Three of Sunday’s top five winners are in the Chase, being Logano, Busch and Edwards.
The Eliminator round begins October 26 at Martinsville Speedway with the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500, followed by the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, and Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9. Drivers start this three-race round with 4,000 points each.
As has been tradition since 2002, the final race of the season will be the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race forms part of the Ford Championship Weekend, featuring the Ford EcoBoost 300 and Ford EcoBoost 200. Taking place on November 16, the last four competing drivers start the Ford EcoBoost 400 with 5,000 points each. The highest finisher in the race wins the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Car Champion title.