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After leading for most of the laps, Matt Kenseth said, he let himself get too far to the outside at the end.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth leads a pack of cars through the tri-oval in the Aaron's 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., on Sunday.
Matt Kenseth leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., on Sunday.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth gets service during the Aaron's 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., on Sunday.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Matt Kenseth left another restrictor plate race pondering what could have been.
After by far leading the most laps, Kenseth was overtaken on the two-lap overtime sprint Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway and wound up with a disappointing eighth-place finish.
The tally: 190-plus mostly terrific laps and a frustrating finale.
“Just thinking about our day, it’s encouraging but it’s also really frustrating,” Kenseth said. “I think we’ve led the most laps four or five times and I’m fortunate and thankful that we won two races. I just feel like there’s been a few that I’ve left on the table or we’ve left on the table, for whatever reason.
“Hopefully, we can keep the performance up and I can figure out the right things to do there at the end to keep my car in the right spot and we can collect some more wins.”
He enjoyed the view from the front for 142 laps and started with the lead out of a green-white checkered but got passed by Carl Edwards and then by race winner David Ragan, runner-up David Gilliland and still others.
Kenseth knows the feeling. He led a race-high 86 laps at Daytona before engine problems left him 37th. He also led the most laps at Richmond but finished seventh.
Kenseth, who won the fall race at Talladega, quietly apologized to team owner Joe Gibbs outside the hauler for failing to bring home a win. He refused to blame the rain, the darkness or the 3-hour, 36-minute delay.
Kenseth isn’t sure what, if anything, he would have done differently on the restart.
“Carl just got a rocket restart there, and he cleared me down the backstretch,” he said. “He just got a huge run somehow. I was still second. I thought we still had a shot. I tried to get around Carl but he blocked, which you should. We got real wide getting up there and got pretty far to the top, and I just didn’t watch the runs from the guys way in the back.
“I saw David [Ragan] at the last minute but he was going too fast. If I pulled in front of him I was just going to get wrecked. I just had to bite the bullet and try to find the hole, which there wasn’t one. It was a disappointing end to the day but man, we had a great car.”
Kenseth thinks this year’s results show he’s still got a lot of work to do on the big speedways. He won his second Daytona 500 in 2012, and got first- and third-place finishes at the two Talladega Sprint Cup races.
“Restrictor plate racing is tough,” Kenseth said. “Everybody after our great year last year says it was a strongpoint. I think it’s a weakpoint. I feel like I’m not very good at making the right spots.
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