What a great night of racing for Matt Kenseth and the Joe Gibbs team. Last year everyone was talking about Hendrick and their motor package, but this year there has been a big swing with TRD and the Toyota’s are now the talk of the garage with their stout engines. They have the motors, they have the aero down right now and they are so good on pit road. JGR has worked hard on building better race cars and it is showing.
Kenseth was so fast and pretty much ran away with the race, leading 352 of the 400 laps. Good job by Denny Hamlin’s pit crew with an 11.8 pit stop midway thru the race. And, oh by the way, don’t forget that Hamlin tore his right knee up and was driving hurt.
Big oops by the #95 Michael McDowell for hitting the safety truck during the 5th caution of the night, as they were on the track collecting debris. Tore up the rear of that race car pretty good and NASCAR asked McDowell, crew chief Kevin Walter and the spotter to the hauler at the end of the race. Shout out though for McDowell as he had the privilege and honor to deliver the night’s Invocation during pre-race ceremonies.
Great job by #43 Aric Almirola driving for Richard Petty. With 26 laps to go, he worked his way up to 4th and was consistently putting down the fastest or second fastest laps each lap during the remaining run. Almirola left pit road in the 3rd spot after a really close race with #18 Kyle Busch and ended the race in 4th position.
Another shout out to #22 Joey Logano’s pit crew at Team Penske for their 11.5 pit stop at the end of the race with 20 laps to go, which I think was the fastest of the night.
written by Donna Bell
photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images