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Kenseth captures both Busch, IROC series races

Matt Kenseth held off Ryan Newman to win the International Race of Champions and clinch the series championship Saturday at Hampton, Ga.

Kenseth went 2 for 2 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, also winning the Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race.

Newman held the points lead coming into the last of IROC’s four races. But, with a push from fellow Nextel Cup star Kurt Busch, Kenseth slipped by Kevin Harvick with 13 laps to go and crossed the line 0.257 seconds ahead of Newman.

“We had a good day, that’s for sure,” Kenseth said. “My Busch guys did a good job of preparing a good car and getting us where we needed to be at the end of the race. The IROC was a lot of fun. I was fortunate enough to have Kurt give me a big shove at the end.”

Kenseth, the 2003 Nextel Cup champion, finished his first year in IROC with 71 points. He earned five crucial bonus points in the last event: two for being second after the first segment of the 65-lap race, three more for leading the second-most laps, 13.

Newman wound up four points behind Kenseth, who won the final two events in the series to claim the $1 million prize.

“It definitely means a lot because we’re in equally prepared cars,” Kenseth said. “It’s fun when you go out there and make the moves and you’re all in the same cars and nobody has a spotter or anything. They’re all just out there racing for fun.

“In a way, it’s sort of like going to the go-kart track with all your buddies, and they give you all the same go-karts, and you go out there and slam it out and try to win.”

Harvick ran up from much of the way, leading 46 laps on the 1.54-mile tri-oval. But he dropped back to seventh at the end.

World of Outlaws star Danny Lasoski had an impressive showing, finishing third at the high-banked track.