FORT WORTH, Texas — Matt Kenseth ended a 77-race winless streak in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with a dominant victory in Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kenseth led 169 of the 334 laps of the 1.5-mile race to give Roush Fenway Racing its eighth victory at TMS while Kenseth became the sixth different winner in seven races this season. It was his 19th career victory.
The final 113 laps were completed under the yellow flag as only five cautions for 24 laps slowed the event and Kenseth, who took the lead for the final time when Kurt Busch made his final pit stop with 13 laps remaining, beat Clint Bowyer to the checkered flag by 8.315 seconds.
“After over two years I didn’t know if I would have a chance to get here again and I really have to thank Jimmy (Fenning, crew chief) and all the guys for all the hard work they do,” said Kenseth, who led more laps Saturday night than he did the entire 2010 season.
With long stretches of green-flag racing, Kenseth dictated pit strategy by holding the lead and pitting early repeatedly.
“Being out front was a difference and when we had to pit it forced the others to have to pit,” Kenseth said after winning for the first time since February of 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
Bowyer led 42 laps and was leading in the final third of the race when he got loose while trying to lap Brian Vickers. Though he made a spectacular recovery, the bobble was enough for Kenseth to regain the lead. He remained ahead of Bowyer the remainder of the night.
“That was my fault. Totally my fault,” said Bowyer, who drove his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to his best finish of the season. “You come up on those lappers so bad and Matt was catching me so I was pressing and I just slid up and go into him. It was my fault.”
Carl Edwards overcame an upset stomach to drive his Roush Fenway Racing Ford to a third-place finish and take the point lead by nine markers over Kyle Busch.
Greg Biffle was fourth in another Roush Fenway Ford while Paul Menard brought his RCR Chevrolet home fifth.
Marcos Ambrose was sixth in a Ford and polesitter David Ragan was eighth and the fourth Roush Fenway Racing driver to finish in the top seven. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. were eighth and ninth, respectively, with Kurt Busch 10th in a Dodge.
Kenseth averaged 149.234 miles per hour and is tied with Johnson for third in the standings, 13 points behind Edwards.