TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Matt Kenseth dominated Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega, but was left with just an eighth-place finish following the conclusion of a wild green-white-checkered restart. The first thing Kenseth did upon exiting the car was seek out Joe Gibbs, his car owner, and apologized for not delivering the victory.
Gibbs merely shook his head, leaned in to his driver and told him "you did great."
Kenseth believes he let his team down after leading the most laps (147) and clearly having the most dominant car of the race. Ultimately, Kenseth believes he didn't pick the right line and blamed the unpredictable nature of a green-white-checkered finish as the reason he didn't close out the win.
"Plate racing is just tough," Kenseth said following the race. "I'm not good at picking the right spots. I don't think our success here last year is really indicative of where I'm at as a restrictor plate driver. It would have been nice to pick the right spot at the end but this game is just so unpredictable."
Kenseth stuck to the bottom of the track all race long and it kept him near the front. He hoped it would reward him again on the final restart. Kenseth jumped out to a huge lead on the frontstretch, but was quickly overtaken by Carl Edwards.
He was second coming to the white flag but was rooted off the bottom by Jimmie Johnson. Instead of moving back down and following Johnson, Kenseth swung wide outside to chase down Johnson. None of the moves at the end worked and Kenseth sank outside of the top five as the leaders raced to the checkers.
"I could have stayed on the bottom, but deep down I knew the middle or top lines were going to win this race."
Kenseth rationalized that there probably wasn't much that he could have done at the end but still wanted to reward his team with a victory, especially after all the controversy surrounding their victory at Kansas.
"I felt like we had one of the fastest cars and I feel like I gave one away," Kenseth said. "These guys gave me everything I needed and I let everyone down. I say that even though I don't know what I would have done differently."
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