Kenseth Earns Hard Fought Top-10 at Phoenix

Matt Kenseth battled back from some early trouble at ISM Raceway to drive his Wyndham Rewards Ford Fusion to a top-10 finish, crossing the line seventh Sunday afternoon.

Kenseth rolled off the grid 18th for the 312-lap race, and ended the opening stage there, fighting loose conditions in his Ford. Following a pit stop under the stage break, the Cambridge, Wisconsin, native rolled off 18th for the second 75-lap segment.

Just after the restart, the No. 22 machine blew a tire right in front of the No. 6, forcing him to check up, which led to the No. 19 plowing into the left rear of Kenseth’s machine. The damage was fairly severe on the left side, forcing Kenseth to pit for tires and damage repair. After a sequence of pit stops to repair the damage, and add a transponder back which fell off from the crash, Kenseth lined back up 20th for the restart at lap 105.

The next yellow would fly at lap 132, when Kenseth pitted again, this time for tires, fuel and more damage repairs. Kenseth went on to finish 17th in the second stage, and was able to stay out on track after just pitting 15 laps prior.

Kenseth rolled off fourth at lap 158 for the final stage, setting up solid track position for his Wyndham Rewards Ford. He fell back to ninth by lap 218, and pitted under green at lap 223. He was tagged with a speeding penalty under the stop, but the yellow came out immediately following the stop.

After serving the pass through Kenseth lined back up 21st, two laps down, for the restart at lap 235. Following another yellow, teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr., suffered a hard hit at lap 263, which led to the lucky dog for Kenseth. After a red flag was displayed, the yellow came back out just six laps later, when Kenseth was awarded the free pass putting him back on the lead lap.

Kenseth would restart 13th at lap 275, and worked his way into the top-10 by lap 300 with 12 to go. Kenseth held off his competitors at the end, crossing the line seventh at the track he won at a year ago.

Kenseth returns to the No. 6 next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway to close out the 2018 season. Race coverage begins next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC and MRN.