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Kenseth wins for first time in last 76 races

Katie Kenseth, left, and her husband, Matt, celebrate a victory Saturday. (Associated Press)
Katie Kenseth, left, and her husband, Matt, celebrate a victory Saturday. (Associated Press)

FORT WORTH, Texas – Matt Kenseth can quit wondering. He is still good enough to win.

After going 76 races without a win, Kenseth finally got back into Victory Lane with a dominating run at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night when the entire Roush Fenway team was outstanding.

“After over two years, I didn’t know if I’d get a chance to get here again,” Kenseth said in Victory Lane.

Kenseth led 169 of 334 laps at the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked track for his 19th career victory, his first since California in February 2009 when he won the first two races of that season. Since his other win at Texas in 2002, Kenseth had four runner-up finishes, including last fall behind Denny Hamlin, and six other top-10 finishes at the track.

“It has been a long time,” Kenseth said. “I have lost a lot of close ones at this track. It feels good to be able to close it out.”

This time, the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford was only trailing late behind Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch when both of those drivers were out of sequence on stops and trying to stretch fuel in hopes of catching a caution. Lucky for Kenseth, there were no yellow flags at the wrong time.

Kenseth went back ahead to stay with 13 laps to go when Busch had to make his final stop and give up an 8.2-second lead. Kenseth finished 8.315 seconds ahead of Clint Bowyer on a warm and windy night for the first Texas race under the lights.

“One of the hottest times I’ve ever had in a car,” Bowyer said. “More than anything, my feet were burning up.”

Edwards, Kenseth’s teammate, joked that he was “hopped up on Pepto-Bismol” because of an upset stomach from something he ate earlier in the day. He also dealt with a loose car all night, but still finished third to take over the series points lead by nine over Kyle Busch.

All four of Roush’s drivers finished in the top seven Saturday night. Greg Biffle was fourth and polesitter David Ragan seventh, the best finish of the year for both. Kenseth led nine times and won with an average speed of 149.234 mph.