By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Even a spin on the first lap of the Overton’s 400 could not keep Matt Kenseth from earning a Top 10 finish. Kenseth used pit strategy to climb back up through the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field to finish ninth in his No. 20 ToyotaCare Toyota Camry.
Kenseth’s crew chief Jason Ratcliff brought his driver to pit road late in many of the green flag pit cycles. This kept Kenseth up front throughout the day, except at the end of the first two stages. Proof of this can be seen in the nine laps that he led, as well as stage finishes of 20th and 22nd.
Ultimately, Kenseth’s biggest moment came on the first lap. As the field entered turn three, his Toyota broke loose underneath the Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson. Kenseth had a long and lazy spin in front of the field. Several spun in the chaotic avoidance that followed. Other than minor damage from Austin Dillon spinning into the left rear of his car, Kenseth emerged relatively unscathed.
This was the ninth Top 10 finish of the 2017 season for Kenseth, and 318th of his career. He remains ninth in the Championship Points standings, 229 points behind points leader Martin Truex, Jr. However, Kenseth currently sits 16th in the Playoff Standings, the last driver in on points. He has just 17 points over Clint Bowyer, currently the first driver on the outside, looking in.
This was also the third straight Top 10 finish for Kenseth since he announced that he would not be returning to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018. As of now, the 2003 NASCAR Premier Series Champion is still a free agent heading into the 2018 season.
Now Kenseth, Ratcliffe, and the entire No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team will look to extend their Top 10 streak at the twists and turns of Watkins Glen International.