CONCORD, North Carolina—Spare Matt Kenseth the toilet humor.
The driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford was delighted to win Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with new sponsor Fluidmaster on his car—make that with any sponsor on his car.
In a race that saw five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson suffer a Chase-changing accident in the final 20 laps, Kenseth pulled away from Kyle Busch and teammate Carl Edwards during a 12-lap run to the finish and notched his third victory of the season and the 21st of his career.
Kenseth finished .968 seconds ahead of Busch, with Edwards coming home in third, miffed by the way Busch raced in Turn 2 as the two were contesting second place in the closing laps.
Kenseth climbed to third in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings halfway through NASCAR’s 10-race playoff in an event that was as much an audition as a triumph for the 2003 Cup champion. With Crown Royal leaving as primary sponsor of his car after the current season, Kenseth needs financial backing for next year.
That’s why he didn’t mind the puns about Fluidmaster, which makes systems designed to conserve water when toilets are flushed.
"After all the toilet jokes about my restarts, we finally got a good one today," said Kenseth, who got the jump on Busch on the last restart of the race, on Lap 323 of 334. "Thankfully, we got a good one there at the end.
"Crown Royal—it’s not too late to come back. We don’t have any sponsors for next year, so this should be a good audition. And Fluidmaster for being on this week—it was a great night for us."
Kenseth is seven points behind Edwards, who expanded his Chase lead to five points over sixth-place finisher Kevin Harvick.
"That’s good, but it only matters where you are in the last lap at Homestead (in the season finale). But it’s been a great five races, and it feels great to win."