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A Brief Information about Auto Club 500 NASCAR Racing
Even when he took the lead late in the Nextel Cup race at California Speedway, Matt Kenseth didn't expect to win the Auto Club 500. "I was sort of planning on running second," Kenseth said, grinning.
From the opening laps, it was clear to see Matt Kenseth had one of the best cars on the track. After starting 31st, the #17 DeWalt Ford passed cars left and right and was in the top 5 about 50 laps in to the Auto Club 500. From there he never looked back and went on to claim the checkered flag.
The 30-place jump didn’t surprise Kenseth at all. “If you have the best car, you should be able to start anywhere in the field and get to the front in 500 miles,” he said. “If you can't, then there either have been no cautions or you've probably done something wrong.”
There weren’t many cautions in the Auto Club 500 to work with, though, as only two occurred (for debris) in the first 196 laps. There ended up being 7 for 26 laps total, meaning we saw our first green flag pit stops of the season because last week they all happened under caution. Kenseth was one of nine race leaders that exchanged the top spot 18 times. It was win number 11 for him in 222 career races.
But the 2003 Cup champion got a gift Sunday, winning the Auto Club 500 after the stronger cars of Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart went to the garage with late-race engine failures.
"I feel bad for Greg," Kenseth said. "He was really the class of the field all day. But I feel like we had the second- or third-best car. We had a great-handling car all day."
Stewart's blown engine on Lap 214 of the 250-lap event brought out a caution flag and sent the leaders to pit road for their final stops. A great pit stop by the crew of Kenseth's No. 17 Roush Racing Ford got him out ahead of Biffle, but, until smoke began spouting out of the exhaust on Biffle's No. 16, Kenseth didn't expect to stay ahead. The win at the Auto Club 500 helped Matt Kenseth boost his Nascar Nextel Cup standing to the #3 spot overall.
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