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article imageNASCAR: Monster crash disrupts field at the 'Monster Mile'

By John Duarte     May 16, 2016 in Sports
Dover - Matt Kenseth mastered the “Monster Mile” on Sunday and cruised to victory at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism to snap a 17 race win-less streak.
It has a been a rough start to the 2016 campaign for Kenseth, who broke into the Top 5 for the first time the previous weekend in Kansas. Kenseth admitted he didn't have the greatest car during the AAA 400 Drive for Autism, but was thankful luck was on his side at the Monster Mile.
“This wasn't our fastest car by any means, but we were able to be there at the end of the race to pull it off,” Kenseth said. :”It all worked out for us, kind of the opposite as I feel like it's been going for us the last couple of months.”
Battling it out behind Kenseth were two of the up-and-coming drivers in NASCAR, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott.
“It was fun battling Chase there. I didn't see him much throughout the race. I knew he was behind me there at the last restart,” said Larson. “Hopefully, we're battling up front for many years to come.”
Elliott agreed.
“I certainly wouldn't complain if I was battling for wins for the next 10 years,” Elliott said. “I don't know about him (Larson), but that's the way I would do it. I'd love to be in the mix for wins moving forward.”
Larson finished second in the AAA 400, Elliott placed third.
The race was stopped on Lap 354, of 400, to allow safety works to clean up a massive crash on a restart that ended up involving 18 cars, including those of Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards. The incident was triggered by Johnson whose car had trouble getting up to speed and got hit from behind to start the chain of events. Johnson said he had never experienced such transmission failure in his career.
“I had a great start in second gear, (but) as I went to put it into third and came across the shifting gate it never went to into third,” Johnson said, adding he tried to enter fourth and third again but the transmission was locked in neutral. “I thought I had missed a shift. It just wouldn't go in gear.”
Johnson credited Truex Jr. for slowing down in trying to allow him to get going, but knew the inevitable contact would come since his car wouldn't go into gear. Truex Jr. it was all part of racing.
“Just one of those deals,” he said. “Wrong place, wrong time.”
Truex Jr. ended the race ninth. Johnson finished 25th, 13 laps behind the winner.
Kenseth was alongside Johnson as the field come to the restart. He said he saw Johnson's car “get out of shape” as he headed into Turn 1, but didn't know any more than that and his crew chief said the yellow flag was back out.
“I looked in my mirror, I was in the middle of (turns) one and two,” Kenseth said. “(I) Didn't see anybody behind me, so I knew it must have been a big one.”
Harvick retains the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver standings and is followed by the Busch brothers. Kyle Busch trails Harvick by 21 points, with bother Kurt another 11 points further back.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams a one-week break from official competition with a pair of races next weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but the drivers likely won't look at it that way. First up is the Sprint Showdown, on May 20, with the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race the following night, May 21. The series schedule returns to racing on May 29 with the Coca-Cola 600 at the same North Carolina race track.
More about Nascar, Sprint cup series, dover international speedway, monster mile, Matt Kenseth
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