NASCAR & Auto Racing

Matt Kenseth can’t close deal in Xfinity race

Matt Kenseth (front) led 148 of the 204 laps Saturday at Kansas Speedway but ended up finishing in second place.
Matt Kenseth (front) led 148 of the 204 laps Saturday at Kansas Speedway but ended up finishing in second place. Special to the Star

Matt Kenseth had the best car in Saturday’s Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway, and he put up the numbers to prove it.

Kenseth led for 148 of the 204 laps, but ultimately couldn’t figure out a way to hold off Kyle Busch down the stretch.

“It was a good day for us. We’ve ran five (Xfinity Series) races this year, and that’s our fourth second in a row. It’s good, but it’s also aggravating… we tried everything. We just couldn’t make it happen.”

Busch gained momentum throughout the day, and Kenseth couldn’t keep the pace.

“Earlier in the day I could get away from Kyle pretty good and pretty much dictate how hard I wanted to run and lead. As the day went on, it got harder and harder for us to do that,” Kenseth said.

Buescher maintains points lead

Chris Buescher would rather not talk about a good day in the points column, but his positioning with three races left in the season makes it easier to handle.

Buescher overcame some bumps on the initial start and a pair of mistakes on pit road and finished sixth, padding his Xfinity Series lead. He holds a 27-point lead on Chase Elliot with races at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami remaining.

“It was a good points day, as much as I hate to talk about points days,” Buescher said. “It’s the best run we’ve had here at Kansas and the best mile-and-a-half we’ve had in a while. I’m glad our program is getting better there.”

Buescher, a Prosper, Texas, native who turns 23 later this month, got caught up in some trouble on the race’s start and suffered some minor damage. He was assessed penalties for speeding on pit road and stalled his No. 60 Ford on another trip.

“It was an eventful day,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of things I’ve got to clean up on my end … just things I’ve got to do better at. The guys did a nice job. We were a top-five car, we just had to use up a lot to try and get back up there.”

Cobb finishes 29th

Jennifer Jo Cobb, a native of Kansas City, Kan., started in the back of the pack Saturday. She eventually worked her way up to a 29th-place finish.

Cobb’s day ended when she and Korbin Forrester collided on lap 147. Both drivers were evaluated and released at the track.

Petty surprises local military family

A Kansas City, Kan., family received an unexpected visit on Friday.

Retired Army sergeant Mike Dizmang-Espy, his wife Diana, a National Guard member, and their four children went to a local Price Chopper to receive tickets for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

The family was greeted instead by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty.

Petty drove up in a new Ford Fusion, which he gave to the family in addition to a free year’s worth of groceries on behalf of Price Chopper and Eckrich.

“I really don’t know what to say, but to thank everyone for these wonderful gifts,” Dizmang-Espy said in a statement. “You can tell that Eckrich really put a lot of effort to make today special, and I can’t thank everyone enough. We do sacrifice a lot in service and it's just nice to know that people out there want to give back.”

Todd Engle and Ryan Atkinson, Special to The Star