Kansas City, KS – We already know that the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is the last for Matt Kenseth with Joe Gibbs Racing. With the way that the silly season for next year is playing out though, the 2017 season may be his last season in the series in general. So, with Kenseth being in striking distance of making the Round of 8 in what could be his final year in the sport, it was a great story.
Kenseth, hasn’t won a Cup race in 48 starts, last winning at Loudon in July 2016. But, there he was in a good spot at making the third round of the Cup playoffs.
Kyle Larson had blown an engine on Lap 73 and was out of the race in 39th place. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had already blown a tire and gotten into the wall on Lap 176. Jimmie Johnson then spun twice in a span of five laps from Lap 189-194.
Everything was falling into place for the Wisconsin native.
Unfortunately, it was his turn with bad luck next.
A melee occurred on the backstretch on Lap 197 when Erik Jones lost control of his No. 77 Toyota exiting Turn 2. That sparked a 14 car accident on the backstretch of the 1.5-mile track. To no avail, Kenseth was one of the 14 collected. Luckily, his damage wasn’t too severe. He was able to drive his No. 20 Toyota back to pit road for repairs.
But, that’s where a costly error happened, one that would end his playoff chances.
By NASCAR rule, only six crew members are allowed over the wall to repair a car, Kenseth had seven. NASCAR caught that which the penalty results in being “parked.” Instead of having six guys able to fix his car and him continue on, Kenseth would finish 37th as a result.
That left him 30 points outside and not able to continue on in the Round of 8 that begins next week.
How ironic though was the driver that crashed to spark the melee is the one that will replace Kenseth in that ride for 2018.