Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth was the pole sitter and dominant Sprint Cup Series driver at Michigan International Speedway this weekend, winning the Pure Michigan 400 in what was another good day overall for JGR.
Kenseth, in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, led 146 laps in Sunday’s win at the two-mile track; prior to this race, Kenseth had led a total of 147 laps over the schedule’s first 22 races.
“These guys gave me a great car,” said Kenseth post-race. “It’s easy to take things for granted. I really have to thank the Lord for putting me here, this is just an unbelievable opportunity and unbelievable people I get to work with every single day at Joe Gibbs Racing as well as all the guys standing here. Thanks to Dollar General and DeWalt, Sprint, Toyota, TRD (Toyota Racing Development) – they gave us a ton of power today. I have great partners and can’t do it without them.”
Even with all four JGR teams currently in Chase for the Sprint Cup contention, Kenseth believes it’s too early to be calling the team “favorites” to win the title.
“It’s early to talk favorites – there’s so much racing to do and there are 16 teams that are capable of winning races on a weekly basis as well as a championship,” said Kenseth. “It’s one week at a time like always. It’s been a great week and we’ve had a great couple months. We definitely have some momentum built. The guys gave us a rocket today and gave us rockets the last couple months. We’re just going to work hard to try to keep it rolling.”
Kenseth’s three teammates also had solid runs at Michigan. Denny Hamlin finished fifth in the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, followed across the finish line by Carl Edwards, in the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota, in sixth. Kyle Busch, in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, finished 11th, but gained points in the standings that moved him into 29th, which currently puts him in contention for the Chase.
“It’s really good times for Joe Gibbs Racing right now, the guys are doing a great job,” said Busch. “Our Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry was good today, a lot better car than I expected to have. Real proud of all my guys and can’t thank them enough for all the long hours they put in last night and this morning to get me prepared and ready with a good piece to go out there and do our best. If all things would have worked out a little better we might have finished fourth or fifth, but where we ended up there just outside the top-10 doesn’t matter. We just have to continue on with our points gathering and go on to next week.”
Kevin Harvick finished second, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon.
In Saturday’s Xfinity Series Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Daniel Suarez brought home the No. 18 ARRIS Toyota in 11th place, while Boris Said finished 13th in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota. Kenny Habul finished 28th in the No. 20 SunEnergy1 Toyota.
Regan Smith won the race, followed by Alex Tagliani and Ty Dillon. Chris Buescher and Chase Elliott finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series visit Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. Suarez, Hamlin and Busch will compete in Friday night’s Xfinity Series Food City 300, while Hamlin, Busch, Edwards and Kenseth return to the track in the Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race on Saturday night. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.