HUNTERSVILLE – A 10th-place finish usually doesn’t create much of a ‘wow’ factor. But for driver Matt Kenseth, it was reward for pushing his racecar from a 28th-place start.
More importantly, Kenseth’s climb into 10th at the 5-Hour Energy 400 on May 10 at Kansas Speedway landed him in second place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. He hasn’t won a race yet, but he’s been close with eight top-10 finishes in 11 starts.
Kenseth’s best finishes in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota for Huntersville-based Joe Gibbs racing have been a pair of fourth-places.
He began the May 10 race as the defending champion, but problems in qualifying bumped him to the 28th starting spot. Kenseth then fell behind a lap when a caution flag came out early in the race.
“We were just pretty slow all weekend, as a group, really,” Kenseth said. “Lost that lap on that first run. I was in the ‘lucky dog’ spot a lot of times, just couldn’t catch a caution at the right time. We got lucky to finish 10th really. These guys did a good job. It was almost impossible to pass out there and never really had great track position.”
The Nationwide Series resumes
HUNTERSVILLE – After taking Mother’s Day weekend off, the Nationwide Series will resume May 18 at Iowa Speedway (1:30 p.m., ESPN).
Elliott Sadler, who drives the No. 11 Toyota for Huntersville-based Joe Gibbs Racing, is one point behind leader Chase Elliott in the points standings.
Regan Smith, of Mooresville-based JR Motorsports, is only three points behind Elliott.
Paying tribute to mom
CORNELIUS – Drivers, like most everyone, were quick to thank their moms on Mother’s Day, which coincided with the race in Kansas.
Clint Bowyer, who drives for Cornelius-based Michael Waltrip Racing, said “(NASCAR moms) are every bit as tough as a NASCAR dad, I can promise you that. She’ll be over chewing my butt faster than he will or tell you or anything like that. She’s always in somebody’s ear. It really is cool and it’s a big weekend for Mother’s Day. She means a lot to us and thinking back to the early days when she had three kids racing and getting everything ready for us.”
Sadler’s tweet on Mother’s Day: “As I'm typing I realize words are just not good enough to explain how much my mom means to me!! Love you!!
We rank Herald Weekly-area drivers in the racing world:
1. Joey Logano – Finished fourth in the 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 10 . It was his fourth time in fourth place this season.
2. Matt Kenseth – Seemingly always among the leaders, with eight top-10 finishes in 11 Sprint Cup races. Trails leader Jeff Gordon by 15 points. Kenseth is surging.
3. Elliott Sadler – He’s in second place in the Nationwide Series points race, one point behind leader Chase Elliott. Which team will benefit from the idle Mother’s Day weekend, if either?
4. Kyle Busch – Third in the Sprint Cup points race in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota Camry, six points behind second-place Kenseth.
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Finished fifth at Kansas City last weekend and is a solid fourth place in the Sprint Cup standings. He has seven top-10 finishes and the loyalty of a legion of fans.