Sneaky-fast Matt Kenseth salvages third-place run

Matt Kenseth (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Matt Kenseth overcame a double whammy to post an unlikely third-place finish in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

On a green-flag pit stop on Lap 36, Kenseth was flagged for speeding while entering pit road. Under caution at the end of Stage 1 on Lap 89, NASCAR nailed him again for going too fast while exiting pit lane and kept him a lap down.

Kenseth spent the next 170 laps hustling to get in the “lucky dog” position and finally earned a free pass back to the lead lap when Gray Gaulding’s engine blew on Lap 263 to cause the fourth caution of the afternoon.

From that point on, Kenseth charged toward the front, ultimately finishing third behind race winner Brad Keselowski and runner-up Kyle Larson.

“Yeah, it was a good comeback,” Kenseth said. “It was an uphill battle all day. For some reason, our speed was off on pit road, and we got two penalties there that put us behind and just the cautions fell and everything and it took all day to get our laps and get back in position.

“So everything kind of went our way at the end, except for that outside restart hurt us (on Lap 315), but we had a good car and glad we got a decent result.”