- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
Kenseth starting to feel like Cup contender again
Question of the Day
FORT WORTH, TEXAS (AP) - Matt Kenseth finally has that contending feeling again courtesy of a long-awaited return to Victory Lane.
“You keep working as hard as you can at it. And you try to get the cars going the best you can, and hopefully have some more chances to win,” the former Sprint Cup champion said after breaking a two-year, 76-race winless streak with a dominating run at Texas. “It gives you a lot of confidence, and it’s a big relief.”
For the first time since opening the 2009 season with consecutive victories at Daytona and California, Kenseth was a NASCAR Sprint Cup winner again Saturday night, when he led 169 of 334 laps in his No. 17 Ford. He fronted an impressive showing by Roush Fenway Racing, which had its four drivers in the top seven.
Still, it was special for Kenseth to be the one holding the unique trophy and firing off the six-shooters that are part of the postrace celebration at Texas Motor Speedway.
After his fast start with two victories in 2009, Kenseth didn’t even qualify for the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship that season, missing NASCAR’s playoff for the only time since its inception in 2004. He got back into the Chase last season, and finished 16th or better in each of the last races with four top-10s.
Kenseth had led only five laps in the first six races this season, but the 39-year-old Wisconsin native got to Texas coming off three consecutive finishes in the top six and had been in the top 12 for every race since an accident in the season-opening Daytona 500 led to a 34th-place finish.
“I felt better the last six months. Everything’s been looking up. Certainly the previous 12 months before that were frustrating for me,” said Kenseth, the 2003 Cup champion. “It’s been a long time, and we’ve had a lot of fun going to the racetrack here the last two months the last year, and the first part of this year. It feels like we’re back into a contending form.”
While the season is still young, the victory at Texas pushed Kenseth up six spots to third in season points behind Edwards and Kyle Busch, who was on top before finishing 16th at Texas. Busch had led at least 151 laps in each of the last three races this season, but never got out front in Texas.
Edwards finished third despite being bothered by an upset stomach from eating something his mother made him, apparently hitting a bird during the race and dealing with a loose car the entire race on a warm, windy night in Texas.
Greg Biffle was fourth four Roush and teammate and polesitter David Ragan seventh, the best finish of the year for both.
At the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked Texas track Saturday night, Kenseth started fourth and stayed at or near the front for all 501 miles while leading nine different times. What others may view as boring translated into a dominating victory.
“We had such good track position and pit stops and pit strategy and qualified well, so we really never got behind, which is obviously a big advantage,” Kenseth said. “It always feels good to win no matter how you can win. More times than not, the fastest car ends up winning, and I thought that happened.”
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is 'torture'
- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame ready for different route to title
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq