NASCAR Kentucky 2013: Winners and losers

Andy Lyons

Highlighting the winners and losers from the NASCAR weekend that was at Kentucky Speedway.

We know Matt Kenseth was the big winner in the Quaker State 400. But here is a look at the other winners and losers from the recently completed NASCAR weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

Winners

Jamie McMurray

A look at the standings shows Jamie McMurray ranked 19th overall. That, however, is not indicative of how competitive he's been this season, as he's had strong runs at Dover and Michigan ruined by a sour engine and a cut tire, respectively. But Sunday, the performance matched the result as his runner-up finish was his first top five since August 2011.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Starting on the pole and running near the front early on, everything was looking promising for Dale Earnhardt Jr. That all changed when a tire carcass from Denny Hamlin's car struck the nose of his Chevrolet puncturing a hole in the grill, skewing the aerodynamics and costing him precious track position. But due to the tenacity of Earnhardt and his team, he scored a hard-fought 12th-place finish.

Jason Ratcliff

Yeah, because he had three wins already in his pocket, Jason Ratcliff was playing with house money. But don't lose sight of the fact that he was the only crew chief who gambled and elected to skip getting fresh tires. And it was that decision which propelled Matt Kenseth to Victory Lane.

Losers

Jimmie Johnson

Let's put aside Jimmie Johnson's recent follies on restarts and focus on his theatrics as of late. Whether he's right or wrong about NASCAR's restart procedure, it comes across as unseemly for a driver who's won five titles and a multitude of races to repeatedly complain publicly about rules that aren't working in his favor. Or as Kyle Petty so eloquently put it: "Let's let Jimmie Johnson write the restart rules because he does them right and everyone else is always wrong."

Brad Keselowski

A year after everything seemingly went right, everything that can go wrong has gone wrong for Brad Keselowski. The latest example coming when Kurt Busch tagged the rear of the No. 2 car and sent Keselowski careening into traffic and into the path of Greg Biffle. Consequently, Keselowski placed 33rd and dropped four spots in the standings to 13th. And still winless on the year it means as of now, the defending champ would not qualify for the Chase.

Roush Fenway Racing

An upswing in performance in recent weeks seemed to indicate Roush Fenway Racing had turned the corner. Then came Kentucky where the aforementioned Biffle wrecked early, while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Carl Edwards finished 17th and 21st, respectively. It was the first time in four weeks the team failed to place a car inside the top 10.

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