Quaker State 400 2013 Results: Reaction, Leaders and Post-Race Analysis

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2013

Inclement weather pushed Saturday's Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway back to Sunday, forcing racers off the track on its scheduled date. None of that was enough to stop Matt Kenseth, who ended the weekend with a huge victory in the Bluegrass State.

Kenseth has earned a reputation as a great intermediate track racer. Of those four wins, three have come on 1.5-mile courses:

Jimmie Johnson was the lead racer for most of the afternoon, leading a total of 182 laps. But a late spinout (which he blamed on Kenseth) after a restart forced him from the top and allowed Kenseth to usurp power.

Here's how it all went down at the end.


Late-Race Recap

With under 30 laps remaining, Brian Vickers, who was running in the top 10, crashed into the wall, forcing a caution and giving cars an opportunity to pit:

Matt Kenseth won the battle off pit road, but did so after opting not to change his tires. It was a massive gamble from Kenseth and his crew, but it ended up paying off.

Jimmie Johnson, who had led 182 laps already up to that point, came off second after only getting two tires, as did the rest of the leaders. Johnson was the dominant racer all day, but the star ran into trouble on the restart, spinning out into Turn 2, forcing him to change more tires:

Johnson took his frustration out on Matt Kenseth, whom he blamed for slowing up the restart—an issue he's been outspoken about all season:

Kenseth came out from that caution in first once again, and even on worn-out tires, he proceeded to build a healthy lead. Even with the oldest tires on the track, the mile-a-and-a-half-savvy Kenseth continued to race at a nice speed.

Johnson, meanwhile, who started the caution back at 25, worked his way back up in a hurry, getting back into the top 10 with eight laps remaining. Without a caution to condense the field, Kenseth was sitting pretty.

Kenseth continued to hold his advantage and took the checkered flag, with Jamie McMurray running second. Here's a look at the full results.


Pos. Driver Car # Team
1. Matt Kenseth  20  Joe Gibbs Racing 
2. Jamie McMurray  Earnhardt Ganassi Racing 
3. Clint Bowyer  15  Michael Waltrip Racing 
4. Joey Logano  22  Penske Racing 
5. Kyle Busch  18  Joe Gibbs Racing 
6. Kurt Busch  78  Furniture Row Racing 
7. Martin Truex Jr.  56  Michael Waltrip Racing 
8. Jeff Gordon  24  Hendrick Motorsports 
9. Jimmie Johnson  48  Hendrick Motorsports 
10. Kevin Harvick  29  Richard Childress Racing 
11. Kasey Kahne  Hendrick Motorsports 
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  88  Hendrick Motorsports 
13. Marcos Ambrose  Richard Petty Motorsports 
14. Ryan Newman  39  Stewart-Haas Racing 
15. Aric Almirola  43  Richard Petty Motorsports 
16. Juan Pablo Montoya  42  Earnhardt Ganassi Racing 
17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  17  Roush Fenway Racing 
18. Casey Mears  13  Germain Racing 
19. Jeff Burton  31  Richard Childress Racing 
20. Tony Stewart  14  Stewart-Haas Racing 
21. Carl Edwards  99  Roush Fenway Racing 
22. A.J. Allmendinger  47  JTG Daugherty Racing 
23. Danica Patrick  10  Stewart-Haas Racing 
24. Austin Dillon  51  Phoenix Racing 
25. David Stremme  30  Swan Racing 
26. David Ragan  34  Front Row Motorsports 
27. David Reutimann  83  BK Racing 
28. David Gilliland  38  Front Row Motorsports 
29. Ken Schrader  32  FAS Lane Racing 
30. Paul Menard  27  Richard Childress Racing 
31. Brian Vickers  55  Michael Waltrip Racing 
32. J.J. Yeley  36  Tommy Baldwin Racing 
33. Brad Keselowksi  Penske Racing 
34. Greg Biffle  16  Roush Racing 
35. Denny Hamlin 11  Joe Gibbs Racing 
36. Landon Cassill  33  Circle Sport 
37. Joe Nemechek  87  NEMCO Sports 
38. Michael McDowell  98  Phil Parsons Racing 
39. Josh Wise  35  Front Row Motorsports 
40. Dave Blaney  Tommy Baldwin Racing 
41. Mike Bliss  19  Humphrey Smith Racing 
42. Travis Kvapil  93  BK Racing 
43. Scott Riggs  44  XXXtreme Motorsport 


Results via NASCAR.com


Notable Moments

Denny Hamlin's Bad Day

It was a long afternoon for Denny Hamlin, who started the race sixth but suffered calamity after calamity on the Speedway.

It started on Lap 38, where Hamlin's tire came apart and forced a caution. His issues caused damage to pole-sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was running pretty well at the time and didn't need the interference:

Hamlin was given the lap back, something Earnhardt and Johnson—the two drivers affected by his debris—questioned since he was the one responsible for the caution:

Still, ever the optimist, Hamlin insisted he could come back:

That optimism was (relatively) short-lived, though, as Lap 149 brought more doom for Hamlin's car, which never seemed to run properly all day. The car got up under him, and Hamlin went crashing, unprompted, into the wall on Turn 4, causing yet another yellow flag:

He finished the afternoon in 35th place, 29 spots below his starting position.


Big Wreck Causes Red Flag

Lap 48 brought the race's most unfortunate wreck. Kurt Busch tapped Brad Keselowski on the inside, spinning Keselowski down below the track.

His car emitting smoke, Keselowski spun uncontrollably back up into the track, crashing viciously into Greg Biffle and setting a fire in the wreckage behind him:

Check out this pretty sweet photo of the air Keselowski got during the hit:

The wreck was so ugly that the Associated Press tweeted Keselowski's race was over. But Kes responded in turn with his intentions to head back out:

All in all, the wreck caused nearly 20 minutes of time under the red flag:

But Keselowski proved his tweet right, eventually, and re-entered the race on a lap 158 caution:


Post-Race Analysis

Kenseth won his fourth race of the season, becoming the new leader in Sprint Cup, and posting his highest total since 2002:

He currently sits fifth in the Sprint Cup Standings with 528 points, looking up at Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards and, of course, Jimmie Johnson.

Here is the full top 10:

Pos. Driver Points Team
1. Jimmie Johnson 610 Hendrick Motorsports
2.  Carl Edwards 572 Roush Fenway Racing
3. Clint Bowyer 569 Michael Waltrip Racing
4.  Kevin Harvick 544 Richard Childress Racing
5. Matt Kenseth 528 Joe Gibbs Racing
6.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. 512 Hendrick Motorsports
7.  Kyle Busch 500 Joe Gibbs Racing
8.  Martin Truex Jr. 490 Michael Waltrip Racing
9. Greg Biffle 489 Roush Fenway Racing
10. Joey Logano 479 Penske Racing


Standings via NASCAR.com

There was no movement among the top five, but Greg Biffle fell from sixth to ninth with his poor result. That result came via the crash on Lap 48, which he could do nothing to avoid; sometimes that's just how the cookie crumbles.

Joey Logano vaulted up four spots with his fourth-place finish, becoming the only new member of the top 10. Brad Keselowski, also a part of that awful wreck, made room by dropping down to 13th. 

Next week brings the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Tony Stewart is the defending champion.


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