NASCAR: Matt Kenseth dominates at the Pure Michigan 400
On Michigan International Speedway, Matt Kenseth endured 200 laps under blazing heat and won the Pure Michigan 400. The race started with Matt Kenseth on pole position and on the very first lap, David Ragan spun, causing a caution flag. On lap 6, the race restarted and Kenseth started pulling away from Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. On lap 11, debris caused the second caution and the race restarted on lap 13. On lap 21, the competition caution went down with Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer and more drivers deciding to pit. The race restarted on lap 24 and Kenseth lost the lead to Austin Dillon. Dale Jr. jumped to third, while Martin Truex Jr. battled for eighth with Kurt Busch. On lap 42, Austin Dillon pitted off cycle, leaving the lead to Matt Kenseth. On lap 48, Jimmie Johnson was in the pits after suffering problems with a deflated tire.
By lap 50, Kenseth had a 9 second lead over Dale Jr and Kyle Busch was improving his position from lap to lap to top fifteen, getting up 26 spots by lap 55. Busch went to the lead right before pitting himself on lap 63, leaving Austin Dillon and Matt Kenseth to battle for the first place. Kenseth won the race off and continued leading the pack. Fourth caution flew on lap 72 and Austin Dillon used the opportunity to pit from second. On lap 77, Clint Bowyer made an incredible restart and got to the first, but Kenseth returned to the lead, dropping him to second. A couple of laps later Truex Jr. improved to second, dropping Bowyer to third. Kyle Busch jumped to third in front of Harvick on fourth, whereas Bowyer dropped to fifth. Harvick managed to overtake Kyle, but the two were less than one second apart.
Halfway into the race, Kevin Harvick went to the lead as race leader Matt Kenseth pitted. However, he miscalculated the fuel level and had to pit from the lead for tire change and refuel. Carl Edwards pitted from the short lived lead as well as Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson who struggled with his car throughout the race. Matt Kenseth was back in the lead again and on lap 121, the yellow flag went up for debris. Race leaders pitted when the lane opened and Carl Edwards was the new race leader. Austin Dillon took the lead on the restart, but the yellow flag went up again when Clint Bowyer went off track. On lap 131 the race restarted with Kenseth in the lead followed by Carl Edwards, while Denny Hamlin battled for third with Austin Dillon.
On lap 135, the yellow went up again, this time when Tony Stewart went sideways. Carl Edwards’ fuel saving technique backfired on him when he lost five spots before the race restarted. The race restarted on lap 142 with a great restart by Austin Dillon who pushed himself to the lead. Austin Dillon was just behind him and battled hard until he ultimately lost pace and let Kenseth go. On lap 163, Kevin Harvick pitted from third, as well as Carl Edwards. Dillon and Logano were next, as well as Kenseth and Dillon, which left Kyle Busch in the lead again. Aric Almirola went to the lead as Kyle Busch pitted, which returned Kenseth to the lead.
With 17 laps to go, Jimmie Johnson spun in front of the pit lane, and with 13 laps to go, the race restarted. In the last laps, Matt Kenseth led the pack comfortably and won the race after leading for 146 laps. He was followed by Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr, Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin in top five. Carl Edwards finished sixth, followed by Joey Logano who made great progress in the final laps. Behind them were Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and Dale Jr. while Kyle Busch was just outside of top ten on eleventh.