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STP 400 Recap: Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne Must’ve Had a Case of Déjà Vu

Matt Kenseth STP 400
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Matt Kenseth captured the checkered flag at Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway, with the race ending in oddly familiar fashion.

Kasey Kahne found himself in second place chasing Kenseth as the laps ticked down—the same scenario as a race at Las Vegas earlier this year. At that race, Kahne seemed to have the stronger car, but couldn’t manage to get around Kenseth’s Camry before the checkered flag fell.

As the laps counted down, so did Kenseth’s lead on Kahne. It fell from more than a second to mere tenths as the flagman gave the signal for two laps to go. Kahne inched closer to the leader’s bumper, but a strong run through the first two turns on the last lap allowed Kenseth to pull away and secure his second victory of the season.

“It was kind of like musical chairs,” Kenseth said. “You had to be out front when the music stopped. Our car was very fast in clean air. It was reasonable in dirty air, but it wasn’t quite good enough to catch all them guys and pass ‘em.”

Good thing he was leading during the end of the race. Kasey Kahne wasn’t so happy about it, though. It was the second time this year he has finished runner up to Kenseth at a mile-and-a-half track.

“We were very close at the end, battling with Matt,” Kahne said. “Felt like Vegas all over again, just kind of felt like really similar to that in how I could catch him but couldn’t really do anything once I got close.”

The win gives added validation to something we should all know by now: Matt Kenseth made a wise decision when he moved to Joe Gibbs Racing during the off-season. It’s a decision that might pay off with championship dividends.

Here’s what we learned in Kansas this weekend:

  1. Brad Keselowski doesn’t know when to quit. The #2 was damaged during the initial start of the race, and even had to go a lap down early to repair the car. That didn’t seem to slow Keselowski down, though. During a tough week at Penske Racing, the blue deuce fought back onto the lead lap, and all the way up to a sixth-place finish with a torn up race car. Paul Wolfe and some other members of the team will probably be suspended, but a sixth-place finish had to provide some relief.
  2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. caught a very bad break. Stenhouse looked to be in position to take home the first win of his Sprint Cup career, as he was leading late during Sunday’s race. But a horribly timed caution caught him on pit road, costing him a lap. Even after he received the lucky dog, Stenhouse was never able to get back the valuable track position (and clean air) he lost.
  3. Kyle Busch catches a lot of bad breaks at Kansas. When Busch’s spotter asked if he was alright after a spin and a hard, head on collision with Joey Logano ended their day, Busch sarcastically replied, “Oh yeah, Kansas, right.” Busch wrecked his primary car in the first practice of the weekend, spun alone to bring out the first caution of the day Sunday and finally was put of his misery on lap 103.

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