WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Matt Kenseth came up short in his bid for his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the 2017, finishing a season-best second in Sundays I Love New York 355 at Watkins Glen International.
Its the fourth-straight top-10 finish for the 2003 Series Champion and he continues to hold the 16th and final playoff spot with four races remaining before the cutoff by 28-points over Clint Bowyer.
“I'm second happiest. Martin is the happiest. We really needed the win. Honestly, I don't even think about the playoffs,” Kenseth said. "I more think about coming here for however many, 15, 17, 18 years, whatever it's been, and not really having a win or an opportunity to win and never even really been that great here."
Kenseth started 15th on Sunday and worked his way up, finishing third in Stage 2. Kenseth was in position to win late on Sunday at Watkins Glen after several cars pitted in the closing laps for fuel but also had to conserve because he was close to running out himself.
"You know, and we started saving early in that run, just tried to manage the gap. I felt pretty good about our fuel savings and how much we saved,” Truex said. "Of course I never really know, I just go by what Jason and them tell me. But I felt pretty good about where we were on fuel, but I think Martin had such a big lead, he was able to just kind of slow up as much as I did and make sure he had enough speed just to stay in front of me."
After moving to second with two laps to go, Kenseth got the go ahead from crew chief Jason Ratcliff to make a charge to try to win, but simply ran out of time trying to get to leader and eventual winner Martin Truex Jr.
“Them last three laps we were both saving pretty hard, and then Jason told me we were good with one to go, and so I stood on it and he stood on it, too,” Kenseth said. He even missed Turn 6 and tried to give it to me, but I couldn't get close enough to take advantage.”
Now Kenseth goes to Michigan International Speedway next week where hes won three times in his career, hoping to get that victory that has eluded him this season.
"I feel like with driving for JGR and having Jason as my crew chief and the team we have that we shouldn't be over a year without a win,” Kenseth said. "It's kind of our own doing no matter what happens. We're running a lot better lately. At the beginning of the year we ran so‑so and just had so many DNFs, so many problems and no stage points, just got buried in the points. So we've been able to make a little comeback in the points, which is nice.
"But lately we've been running a lot better, and I feel like we keep running like this, hopefully we can get a win the next few weeks.”
Matt Kenseth, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
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