By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – At the end of last weekend’s race at Dover, Matt Kenseth stood victorious in victory lane. Kenseth had to work for it, dueling, and ultimately holding off both Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. The win finally breaks the streak of bad luck that has been riding the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry team for much of the season.
Throughout the week, many have commented on the clean racing between Kenseth and Larson at Dover, and what Larson should or should not have done. When Kenseth was asked about whether he was surprised about the fact that this was talked about so much, he said, “I know a few people have talked about it and I don’t understand why. I’ve been in this series for a long time and I watched a lot of races in this series before I started racing. The amount of races where somebody just drives up behind somebody and clobbers them in a race is few and far between. I think most people race with a lot more respect than that.”
“I think Kyle raced me exactly how he knew I would race him. I think he raced as hard as he possibly could. We had a little bit of contact in (turn) two even and that was at a track that is fast and that’s not very forgiving. I thought we both raced as hard as we could for the win without wrecking each other and that’s what I always thought racing was about. I thought it was exciting and I sure heard from a lot of people that thought the racing was exciting and one of the more exciting races that they’ve seen in a long time and in my opinion, I think that’s what the sport is all about.”
Kenseth was also asked if Dover had caused him to change his opinion on Larson, to which he said, “I already had a very high opinion of Kyle Larson. I think that watching him and Chase (Elliott) go at it was really exciting to watch. That’s the future of the sport. There’s some good people coming in there and I think as a driver, as a race fan, and as somebody that cares a lot about the sport that has done a lot for me, that makes me feel good that you see people in the pipeline that are going to be there and be really competitive and put on good shows like that for years to come. I have a high opinion of both those guys and Ryan Blaney is awesome as well, another second generation racer. It didn’t change my opinion of him, just tons and tons and tons of talent and I think he’s a quick learner and you’ve seen him mature a lot these last few years and he’s going to be one of those guys that once he busts through here, he’s going to win some races for sure.”
Kenseth’s win locks him into the 2016 Chase for the Championship. Kenseth talked about whether Dover relieved some of his stress, “Yes and no, it always feels good to win races. I will say that at least for me, the longer you’re around, the older you get, the more races you’ve run, all that stuff, I think you enjoy and appreciate the wins even more. Certainly the way our year’s been and the way we ended last year and everything, it felt really, really good to get that win for sure. As far as what we do from here on out, it hasn’t really changed my outlook or my goals or how we prepare or anything like that. I think you still go each and every week, bring your best stuff and put your best foot forward and do the best job you can do and go out and compete.”
Kenseth and his Joe Gibbs Racing team will not look forward to the Sprint All Star race where one million dollars will be on the line.
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