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2014 Coca Cola 600: Kenseth third at Charlotte

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Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth finished third in Sunday night’s Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the highest-finishing JGR driver and highest-finishing Toyota driver on the field. Kenseth started the No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Tools Toyota Camry from the 12th position and led four times for 33 laps.

“I thought we had a top-five car — a lot of it was definitely an improvement,” said Kenseth post-race. “Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and the team did a great job. They had a great strategy and great stops — had me in front at the end there and just couldn’t hold them off unfortunately. Just needed a little more and couldn’t quite run with the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and a couple of them other cars. Overall, it was a good night for our Home Depot Husky Tools Camry — we just have to get just a little better.”

Kyle Busch finished ninth in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota after starting in the rear thanks to a wreck in practice on Saturday. Busch spent the early part of the race coming up through the pack with his brother Kurt, who started in the back after missing the drivers’ meeting; Kurt Busch was attempting “double duty,” having already finished sixth in his Indianapolis 500 debut earlier in the day. Kurt finished 40th at Charlotte after an engine malfunction.

“The extra 100 miles definitely helped us tonight,” said the younger Busch brother. “We got a lap down early, finally put ourselves in position to get back on the lead lap, but it was just a challenge with the M&M’s Camry tonight. We want to win and it’s hard to be disappointed with a top-10 after the weekend we’ve had.”

Denny Hamlin finished two laps down in 22nd in the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota. Hamlin started sixth n the field.

The Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway next Sunday, June 1st, for the FedEx 400. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.

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