Matt Kenseth rolled off the line from 17th where he may have a lost a few spots earlier on.
But he remained battling inside the Top 20 for the entire Stage 1 stint with not much words to say in the radio apart from his spotter.
Though, Kenseth made two spots late as he crossed the finish line in 18th.
During the stage break, he came to pit road for the first time with some major surgery.
The No.6 Team added tape to gather extra speed as well as the air pressure adjustment as he’s loose off.
After the restart, he remained in 18th over the next 10-12 laps before Daniel Suarez heavily tagged his rear bumper.
Immediately, he returned to pit road for repairs two times to clear his left rear quarter panel.
Despite having to get the rear body done, Kenseth restarted in 20th with an impaired left rear.
Going into the second half of this installment, he remained in 20th for a while before Clint Bowyer spun out on Lap 133.
At the same time, his team took a bit more time on getting the left rear quarter panel bandaged.
Nevertheless, Kenseth went on to make a few gains over the last ten laps as he finished 17th in this stage.
With the No.6 Ford good to go for the next restart, he stayed out as he re-fired off in 8th spot.
Although, his front end plowed through the first half of that run in 19th before making his stop on Lap 223.
At that time, NASCAR busted him on pit road for speeding before Tanner Berryhill spun out on Lap 228.
A few laps later, Kenseth was two laps down when David Ragan had to end his day from the front bumper of Kevin Harvick.
He pitted again during the next particular yellow before Kenseth restarted in 25th.
With 50 to go, Kenseth gained a few spots in 20th as team-mate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. blew his left rear tire at Turn 3.
Having become the lead driver outside the lapped cars, he won the free pass.
From there, he went on to make a couple of significant gains from 13th with 37 to go.
Thanks to the last two cautions, it allowed the No.6 Team to make such changes before Kenseth’s able to pull off in 7th in the end.
And it’s his first Top 10 for 2018 since he left Joe Gibbs Racing after Homestead in 8th 12 months ago.
His 2018 Season So Far.
- 14 Starts
- 3895 of 3925 Laps Completed, 99.2%
- Five Laps Led
- Highest Starting Spot: 11th, June 2018 in Pocono
- Best Finish: 7th, November 2018 in Phoenix
- Average Start: 22.3 & Finish: 20.9
- DNF: One, Crash (Kansas)
- 36th, Kansas
- 17th, Charlotte
- 13th, Pocono
- 33rd, Michigan
- 19th, Kentucky
- 15th, New Hampshire
- 18th, Pocono
- 29th, Watkins Glen
- 25th, Darlington
- 12th, Indianapolis
- 25th, Richmond
- 20th, Dover
- 23rd, Martinsville
- 7th, Phoenix
Persistence and survival do pay off.
Despite suffering some left rear damage in Stage 2 & a speeding penalty on Lap 223, A few yellows helped revived Matt Kenseth’s game.
The No.6 Ford may not be the fastest during the first half of the race.
But in the second half, he remained slow and steady before moving up the order in which with the car looked decent, Kenseth’s able to execute a few areas along the way and wrap up on a high.
You see, Kenseth’s here to help Roush Fenway back to where they wanted.
It takes some time before the results start to come in and to see the No.6 Ford back to its best which proved evident since experimenting without the presence of Trevor Bayne.
For those critics who said Kenseth couldn’t thrive because of the car’s, “junk” equipment should be wrong.
Well, Kenseth’s still has the drive and talent to pull it all the way even though he’s 46.
And his result in Phoenix two days ago reinforced his hard work with a better race car that matched his Top 10 run.
But there are no plans for a full-time ride ever as he needed to spend more time with his family.
So to end 2018 on a high at Miami this Sunday would give Kenseth the perfect send-off to his career in NASCAR and give Ryan Newman the best possible start in the new year.
That way Newman’s presence should increase more competition with Stenhouse and help Roush return to winning ways.
Though, if he was ever to drive again anytime soon, that will only be for one man, Jack Roush.
Matt Kenseth will always be there to keep pushing Roush to where they want to achieve in which his performance two days ago conveyed how much he committed to the cause & fit their DNA.
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