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article imageNASCAR: Kenseth wins his fourth race in dominant fashion

By John Duarte     Sep 13, 2015 in Sports
Richmond - It was Matt Kenseth all the time at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, as he won the final race of the regular portion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a dominant performance.
Kenseth was not to be denied on this night. He got his fourth win of the season after leading the Federated Auto Parts 400 for 352 of its 400 laps of Richmond International Raceway. Kenseth was unstoppable according to second-place finisher and teammate Kyle Busch.
“It was fun running with Matt, or not running with Matt,” Busch said. “I could only do it for about 10 or 20 laps and then he'd just start driving away. His car was really, really good on the long runs.”
The final chance to run down Kenseth came on the restart after the final caution of the night. As the green flag flew, with 18 laps to go, the field huddled behind the leader, but not for long. Kenseth pulled away. The race was never in doubt after Kenseth and Carl Edwards rubbed fenders early in the evening. He was just that dominating. It was Kenseth's third win in the last six races.
“If you could do this every week, you would. I mean, you want to win every week,” he said. So, it's not like you can do anything extra or anything necessarily better. I will say, it feels really good.”
The string of good results comes at a good time, as NASCAR nation now heads into it's 10-race playoff to crown a champion, known as the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Kenseth enters the Chase ranked third despite being tied with Busch and Jimmie Johnson for the most wins on the season — four.
“I was glad I didn't make any mistakes tonight and we were able to get the win. That part feels definitely good,” Kenseth said of the race. “We've had a really good couple of months. We've had really fast cars. It always feels good to win.”
Third place in the Federated Auto Parts 400 went to Joey Logano.
But all that means very little right now. What drivers, 16 of them anyway, are focused on is the next 10 weeks, as they prepare to make a run at Sprint Cup glory. Reigning champion Kevin Harvick summed up what is in store.
“It's a whole new ballgame now,” he said.
That is certainly the case. The remainder of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is now divided into four rounds — Challenger, Contender, Eliminator and Championship. Points for the 16 drivers in the Chase have been reset at 2,000, with three bonus points awarded for each win. After the first three races, the Challenger Round, four drivers are eliminated and the rest proceed to the next round with the points again reset. A race win automatically puts a driver through to the next round.
The same occurs each round until the final race, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where four drivers start on even terms in an all-out win for the title. The winner of the race is Sprint Cup champion.
For Johnson, who has six Sprint Cup crowns on his trophy shelf, this is a chance to re-boot the season. He knows he has to be better.
“We haven't had the pace that we've wanted. When I look at the summer stretch, summers have always been tough (for us),” he said. “We know we have the equipment, just a matter of putting the mouse trap together the right way. So, hopefully, this Lowe's Chevy is where it needs to be.”
Also looking forward to the next 10 weeks is Jeff Gordon, who is retiring from Sprint Cup racing at the end of the season. Gordon is ready to put a frustrating 2015 behind him with a strong run at the Sprint Cup title. He knows it's going to be a challenge.
“We're behind. We know that. Those guys are unbelievable,” Gordon said. “But there's a lot of ways to make it to Homestead and we're working as hard as anybody to try to see what we can do better.”
So all eyes now turn to Chicagoland Speedway for the 400, the opening round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup on Sept. 20, 2015.
More about Nascar, Sprint cup series, Matt Kenseth, Richmond International Raceway, chase for the Sprint cup
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