On Sunday, Matt Kenseth stole a victory from Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Kenseth managed his fuel in a brilliant manner, survived a caution flag-riddled event, watched as the major names ran out of gas and breezed by as they wiggled on the track, hoping for more.
NASCAR captured the Victory Lane celebration:
The triumph marks win No. 2 on the season for Kenseth, who entered Sunday seventh in the standings.
Here's a look at the entire top 10, with the full order available at NASCAR.com:
|4||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||88|
ESPN.com provided a look at the updated standings:
|3||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||717|
|5||Martin Truex Jr.||694|
The start of Sunday's event was, to say the least, a fiasco. Two major names hit the DNF list, there was a red flag involved and there were four cautions before Lap 30.
Kasey Kahne started the chaos with a scary wreck into the pit wall, which sent several crew members running. The accident, shown below by NASCAR, forced a red flag of more than 14 minutes while track attendants made repairs to the wall:
It was an unfortunate turn of events for Kahne, who entered the day 15th in the standings, just above the cutoff for the Chase.
Kahne wasn't the only driver to make an early exit, though. After a competition caution, Sprint Cup Series points leader Kevin Harvick's chances exploded—literally. As NASCAR shows, his engine just gave out:
As the race was still going on, he took to Twitter to joke about his finish:
To finish off the wild early racing, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. barreled into a slowing Sam Hornish Jr., then clobbered the wall for yet another caution. NASCAR on NBC captured the rough hit:
Believe it or not, things calmed down for a while as the lead changed hands many times. Logano got in on the action, as did Jimmie Johnson and everyone's favorite, Kyle Busch.
It's never so easy, though, is it? Things got even scarier after a batch of uneventful racing when Brad Keselowski came onto pit road too hot and collided with two of his crew members:
Everyone emerged from the scary incident healthy, but the rouge tire produced yet another yellow flag. After, well, let's just say another, this time with Hornish and Kurt Busch:
Right after getting cleared from it, Dale Earnhardt Jr. swapped paint with another driver for the seventh caution, just 72 laps into the event. Then it was Alex Kennedy's turn, as his No. 33 car went for a spin.
Things cleared up from there, making it a tale of two races given the messy first half. Logano kept a game Busch and Truex—the winner of June's race at the same track—at bay.
He wound up leading a race-high 97 laps but was the first of the major names to run out of gas. Instead of holding off Busch and extracting some revenge for Busch's victory at the Brickyard one weekend ago, he finished 20th.
As for Busch, it was a matter of playing it smart. He needs to get to 30th in points to qualify for the Chase after his medical exemption. His crew seemed to tell him to ease off to secure second place, which would help much more than gunning for first and posting a DNF when he ran out of fuel.
Instead, Logano ran out, as did Busch about a lap and a half later, freeing Kenseth up for the triumph. Fellow driver Parker Kligerman praised Busch for his efforts, which almost created a jaw-dropping fourth win in a row:
Busch finished 21st and sits in 32nd on the updated leaderboard, just 13 points out of his target of 30th place.
The Sprint Cup Series next tackles Watkins Glen for the Cheez-It 355, where Busch will look to clinch his new spot in the standings with smart racing and Logano will continue to search for a win.
If anything, the event will prove a tad more timid but just as competitive, with Harvick and others hungry to put Sunday's eventful race behind them.
Stats and info courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.