Photo: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Kenseth’s Early Success at Richmond Goes Awry Late with Cut Tire

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

Joe Gibbs Racing has had their hands full this season as they still search for their first win as an organization, but Richmond International Raceway looked like it would be the place for one of their drivers to finally break through, given that the team had won the three previous races at the track heading into Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400.

Leading the JGR charge through the weekend was the elder statesman for the team, Matt Kenseth, who blazed his way to the pole on Friday afternoon and finished final practice with one of the top-10 fastest times.

Once the green flag flew on Sunday afternoon, the speed that Kenseth had shown earlier in the weekend continued into race day as he was unstoppable throughout the first 100-lap stage, leading every lap to capture the stage win. As stage two began, the power in Kenseth’s No. 20 Toyota allowed him to stay up front for another 63 laps before getting passed by Brad Keselowski on lap 164 and finishing as the runner-up in the second stage.

Through the final stage, Kenseth continued to run in the top-10, but a slow late race pit stop would drop him further back in the pack, which would result in contact with Chase Elliott a few laps later and a cut tire shortly thereafter.

Kenseth was able to keep his car off the wall and eventually made it to pit road to replace the tire, but the damage had been done and he was unable to rebound in the closing laps, finishing the day in 23rd place.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.