Matt Kenseth , one of the hottest drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as Joe Gibbs Racing continues to put on a power display, was out of the Irwin Tools Night Race early Saturday night after the No. 20's engine failed at Bristol Motor Speedway. "It broke in the middle of the straightaway -- it had that hop and that noise that it makes when you know you dropped a valve. Unfortunate, but man these guys at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) have been doing such an awesome job, we've had so much power and everything has been really reliable here the last year and a half." The No. 20 went behind the wall on Lap 114 after making it to pit road, smoking its way around the 0.533-mile concrete oval. Asked if he saw any signs of trouble with the engine, Kenseth replied, "They never warn you, it would be cool if they would send you a text or something. Just the middle of the straightaway it made that pop where you knew that was it." Kenseth started Saturday night's race in 13th but the engine failure would send the 2003 premier series champion to a 42nd-place finish. He won the spring race at Bristol from the pole. He has three wins this season and entered the Irwin Tools Night Race third in the Chase Grid and locked into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . "The encouraging part is that our cars are really fast and I thought we were an adjustment away from having what we really needed to run with everybody," Kenseth said. "Wish we were still out there." Kenseth dominated the previous week's race, the Pure Michigan 400 , leading 146 of 200 laps en route to the victory.
Michigan race winner discusses his family's jam song and more RELATED: Kenseth wins at Michigan Matt Kenseth dominated on the track on Sunday to win the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway and his six-year-old daughter, Kaylin, had a predetermined family celebration planned out. Appearing on "The Dan Patrick Show," Kenseth told the host just how he celebrated after his third victory of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and the celebration involved that catchy Kool & The Gang classic hit. (You know, you know it.) Let's let Kenseth describe the scene involving the whole family. "Katie was there. My three little girls were there, which was fun, so they got to go to Victory Lane. We were at the race track for a really long time so I have this radio station in my car when I take my girls to school that we always listen to and its called 'Kids Classic Hits' and you have all these songs come on. It's like old pop stuff but it's kind of for kids and so they like Kool & The Gang 'Celebration' believe it or not. "And Kaylin’s like, 'if you ever win a race dad, we listen to 'Celebration' on the way home.' So we all got in the rental car and I found 'Celebration' on my phone and we were all singing to that on the way to the airport. So that was our celebration." Patrick was amazed by the thought of the 2003 Cup champion singing and pressed for some details. "Yeah it was pretty funny. They usually got me trying to sing Taylor Swift, which was slightly embarrassing for me since I've always liked metal. Kool & The Gang 'Celebration' was kind of better than that." And while Matt may like metal, it's been Taylor Swift jams that have been flowing in the Kenseth household. "Metallica has always been my all-time favorite band. I like a little bit of everything. I don't get to listen to my genre of music as much as I used to. "Lately, my four-and-six-year-old (daughters Grace and Kaylin) have been extremely addicted to Taylor Swift music so I have that in my head way more than I wish I would but that's better than having Yo Gabba Gabba! in your head."
Bad luck for Matt Kenseth as engine problems force the No. 20 Toyota to the garage in the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
@nascarcasm imagines Kenseth's Facebook page after his Irish Hills victory RELATED: All content from @nascarcasm " Follow @nascarcasm
RELATED: See all 43 cars " Starting lineup for Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Matt Kenseth 's No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota crew woke a sleeping giant just in time for qualifying for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) at Michigan International Speedway. But Kenseth jokingly credited a sleepless night -- brought on by worry over teammate Denny Hamlin 's lack of punctuality -- for his pole-winning effort in Friday's time trials at the two-mile track. Getting the most out of the high-drag aerodynamic package in force at the event at Michigan, Kenseth covered the distance in 36.458 seconds (197.488 mph) to win his third Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his first at MIS and the 16th of his career. Hamlin (196.990 mph) was second fastest, and Carl Edwards (196.276 mph) claimed the third starting spot, as Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top three positions on the grid for the 23rd Sprint Cup race of the season. Austin Dillon (195.918 mph) qualified fourth as the top Chevrolet in the field, followed by Tony Stewart (195.477 mph) in a Chevrolet and Kyle Busch (195.450 mph) in the fourth JGR Toyota. Joey Logano , last week's winner at Watkins Glen, qualified 10th as the only Ford driver to crack the top 12. Based on practice speed, Edwards was a favorite to win the pole, but Kenseth , who was 10th on the speed chart in the opening practice session, closed the gap in time from qualifying. "We were a long ways off Carl in practice, and I don't even know what changes they made, but they changed a lot of stuff that really woke this thing up and had some speed," Kenseth said. "I knew I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 good, but Denny put up such a fast lap, and I got into (Turn) 3, and I was bound and determined that I was going to make it wide open. "I had the first half of the corner. It was the second half that was starting to get exciting. I got sliding up the track and bogged down a little bit. I wasn't sure that we were going have it, but I have to say thanks to those guys (the crew). They gave me a car with a lot of speed." In Hamlin's view, Busch's return from an injury has achieved a critical mass of four talented, veteran drivers at JGR who can benefit from each other's expertise. "When you have drivers that you can feed off of, like the three teammates that I have, it makes a difference, and so that's where you're seeing the results," Hamlin said. That didn't prevent the driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry from throwing a barb toward the 43-year-old teammate who beat him for the pole. " Matt was probably too old to remember to lift there," Hamlin said of Kenseth's qualifying run. Kenseth provided a different perspective. "I could say it's because I didn't get enough sleep," Kenseth said. "I flew up with Denny today, and he likes to come to everything at the last minute. I didn't sleep last night thinking that we weren't going to make it up here, so it's really just for lack of sleep. I get to credit Denny for the pole." Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Logano completed the top 10. Reed Sorenson failed to make the 43-car field.
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " SHOP: Kenseth gear BROOKLYN, Mich. -- From Matt Kenseth 's point of view, the competition package NASCAR used at Michigan International Speedway could well have had a big, bright bow on it. The Coors Light Pole-sitter for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Kenseth quickly exhibited his mastery of the high-drag aerodynamic package, leading 146 of 200 laps in winning for the third time this season, the third time at Michigan and the 34th time in his career. The 2003 premier series champion had to survive a restart with 13 laps left, after Jimmie Johnson spun off Turn 4 to cause the eighth and final caution of the race. With a push from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin , Kenseth cleared Kevin Harvick after the Lap 187 restart and went on to win by 1.722 seconds. "Denny did a spectacular job pushing me," Kenseth said of the last run. "From the restart zone to about Turn 2 was like a superspeedway race -- whoever got locked up -- and those Chevys could really hook up. "Denny did a heck of a job giving me a good push there to get by. Honestly, the toughest one was with the 3 (Dillon, with the two drivers swapping the lead after a restart on Lap 131). We went back and forth a few times and made some contact there, and it was hard to get away from him. My car took about five laps to get going, but once it got going, it was pretty stellar." Harvick ran out of fuel under green on Lap 114 but recovered to finish second. Martin Truex Jr . ran third, followed by Austin Dillon (who started from the rear of the field after an engine change) and Hamlin. Kenseth's victory was the fifth for Joe Gibbs Racing in the last six Sprint Cup races but Kenseth stopped short of declaring the JGR cars the favorites for the series championship this year. There are three regular-season races left before the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs start at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 20. "It's early to talk favorites -- there's so much racing to do, and there are 16 teams (in the Chase) that are capable of winning races on a weekly basis as well as a championship," Kenseth said. "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." Harvick, the reigning series champion, has finished second in five of his last six starts at Michigan, and he notched his seventh runner-up result since winning his second race of the season at Phoenix in March. "We had an up-and-down day, that's for sure," Harvick said. "The first half of the race or so (we) really struggled with the handling of the car. The guys did a great job of getting that, and then ran out of gas and came back and didn't lose a lap and were able to have a good enough handling car to drive back up through there. "Just really proud of my team and everything that they did. I didn't have anything for the 20 ( Kenseth ) today, but for everything that we overcame, it was still a good day." Despite starting from the rear of the field, Kyle Busch finished 11th, solidified his position in the top 30 in points and moved closer to a spot in the Chase. Now 29th in the standings, Busch leads 30th-place Justin Allgaier by 18 points and 31st-place Cole Whitt by 23. A four-time winner since returning from an 11-race injury absence, Busch must be in the top 30 after 26 races to lock up a spot in the Chase. Clint Bowyer 's Chase hopes took the hardest hit on Sunday. After running consistently in the top five, Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota bounced off the outside backstretch wall on Lap 126 -- the result of contact with Ryan Newman 's Chevrolet -- and careened into the inside wall. Bowyer finished 41st and dropped one position in the standings to 15th, 23 points ahead of Aric Almirola in 16th and 26 ahead of Kasey Kahne in 17th. Bowyer currently is in the final Chase-eligible position. If the next three races produce one or more unique winners, however, his Chase spot could be in serious jeopardy.
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman recaps the Pure Michigan 400 as Matt Kenseth dominates and takes away his third win of the 2015 season.
Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane as he wins his second race out of the last three and helps JGR win their fifth race out of six in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Matt Kenseth contines Joe Gibbs Racing's dominance by winning the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. This gives Kenseth his second win in three races and his third win of the 2015 season.
Matt Kenseth talks about the adjustment in the high-drag aero package the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will run this weekend that will make the cars cooler for the drivers after an almost unbearable race a few weeks ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.