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Matt Kenseth Breaks 51-Race Drought at Food City 500

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Kenseth NASCAR

Kenseth barrels down the stretch toward the finish

Sunday’s NASCAR Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes at Bristol Motor Speedway was a messy affair marred by rain delays that ultimately came down to a green-white-checkered finish. Despite all of this, it was a good day for one man in particular—Matt Kenseth, who broke a year-long winless drought in taking the final lap of what was ultimately the longest in Bristol short track history.

Kenseth squeezed out a win over Jimmie Johnson, who battled back from a number of issues early on, winning by 0.287 seconds. Kenseth grabbed the lead from Kurt Busch on Lap 477 and never relented from there.

Kenseth’s win is his fourth at Bristol and the 32nd of his career. Up until Sunday’s victory, Kenseth had been winless in his previous 51 efforts, dating all the way back to his win in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire in September 2013.

By making Victory Lane on Sunday, Kenseth all but guarantees that he will be a part of this year’s Chase as well.

“It feels good to be back here,” Kenseth told reporters. “Really, honestly, it does, it wears on you a little bit. We had such a good 2013, we came a little short of the ultimate prize there, but we had such a great season, and last year there were some races we had some chances to win and just things wouldn’t line up for us.

“We just couldn’t get it to happen. Tonight was kind of the opposite. Everything worked out. We had a good car on the short run, not so good on the last 40 or 50 laps of the run, and we had all them cautions and short runs at the end that really benefited us.”

With the win, Kenseth moves up to 8th in the overall standings, making him Toyota’s lone representative in the top 10.