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UPS Game-Changing Moments: Bristol

August 24, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

UPS Game-Changing Moments: Bristol
Moments that changed the course of the race at Thunder Valley

UPS


KENSETH HOLDS OFF KAHNE FOR THIRD TIME IN ‘13  

We’ve seen this script before, Matt Kenseth holding off Kasey Kahne in the closing laps of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

It happened in Las Vegas in March. It happened in Kansas in April. And it happened again in Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

On inferior tires and with a fuel tank that was bordering on empty, Kenseth won a heated battle against Kahne to claim victory in Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, after Kahne moved into the second position on Lap 473 of 500.

The victory was Kenseth’s fifth of the year, and it guaranteed the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at least a wild card spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Juan Pablo Montoya ran third, followed by Brian Vickers and Joey Logano.

The victory was Kenseth’s third at Bristol and the 29th of his career.

Kenseth led the field to green for a restart after a wreck in Turn 1 involving Montoya, David Stremme and Jeff Burton caused the ninth caution of the evening. By Lap 430, Kenseth had opened a lead of more than one second over Gordon.

VICKERS, HAMLIN SPARK EIGHT-CAR WRECK

Caution for debris on the frontstretch slowed the field for the 10th time on Lap 439. Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon, both saving fuel, brought the field to green on Lap 447, but before the cars could complete the circuit, contact between the cars of Brian Vickers and Denny Hamlin ignited a massive wreck in Turns 3 and 4 that dealt serious blows to the Chase hopes of Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski.

LOOSE HUB COSTLY FOR KURT BUSCH

Kurt Busch started on the front row and took the lead at lap 23, holding onto the top spot until lap 76 when a problem cost him his position and a lot of time behind the wall to fix the issue.

“Yeah, I guess we had a right-rear hub fail where the studs pulled through or they weren’t tightened or assembled,” Busch said. “…we didn’t even pit yet so we had a wheel start to vibrate loose at an odd time.  I felt vibrations before, but we are leading the race walking the dog and our right-rear is falling off.” 

The team worked got Busch back on track and his 31st-place finish leaves him only six points behind 10th place and a guaranteed berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

“I guess at the end of the race we gained a bunch of points back with guys having trouble,” Busch said. “My thoughts all through the race were we just have to go to Atlanta and Richmond and win them both.”

The NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this report.