Second Race of the Year Won by Latecomer Kenseth

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A spur-of-the-moment twist on the pit road has led to a surprising win for the second race of the year.

Matt Kenseth drove in late to the FedEx 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, but a two-tire call propelled him to the front row at Lap 367 of 400. That turned out to be all that was necessary to result in his winning his second victory for the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, the first being at Texas. This was also his 20th win in his career, and he is the third driver to have a second victory this season.

Mark Martin had held onto a safe lead, but Kenseth easily dispatched him. Apparently, taking four tires with caution on Lap 363 meant little headway. Kenseth wound up leading the last 32 laps.

Second place went to Martin, and Marcos Ambrose followed in third place. Kyle Busch came next, followed by Biran Vickers to round out the top five.

Kenseth has strengthened his chances to make the field as a result of his second victory, playing under the revamped NASCAR rules for a qualification for the Chase for the championship, the emphasis being on wins.

“My mind is to try to lead those points going into the Chase,” Kenseth said, explaining that he did not want to slide off the wins.

He added that he wanted to go up and race the way he just did every single week.

Kenseth has made his debut to the Cup in 1998 when he filled in for Bill Elliott at Dover.

He admitted that the high-banked concrete track was one of those that posed a real challenge for getting around fast, regardless of whether he was racing against somebody or not.

Long stretches of green flag racing dominated the 400-mile race, with Jimmie Johnson and Edwards turning it into a two-car fight for first place for the most part of the race.

For 117 laps, Edwards led, but later fell to seventh place. 207 laps were led by Johnson, but he eventually finished in ninth place.

Bob Osborne, Edwards’ crew chief, apparently made a call for a four-tire strategy on the last restart, resulting in Edwards dropping to ninth place and losing his chance at the victory.

Of course, Edwards conceded that he did not blame Osborne for his decision. Although he remarked that he really did not have a choice in the whole thing, he seemed to understand that it was a tough choice to make all in all. “It’s up to the guys in the box,” he said.

This was unlike Kenseth and crew, with crew chief Jimmy Fennig calling out for two tires. The crew apparently made the switch before dropping the tire, which translated into the best tactic to win the Sprint Cup.

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