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Matt Kenseth dominates for Sprint Cup victory at Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Matt Kenseth had little to say about how NASCAR's rules package affected his race at Michigan International Speedway.

"I didn't see much of the race, which was totally fine with me," he said. "We were up front the whole time."

Kenseth started in the lead, stayed there for most of the race and earned his third Sprint Cup victory this season, beating Kevin Harvick by 1.7 seconds in Sunday's Pure Michigan 400.

It was the second race under NASCAR's high-drag aerodynamic package, which was also in place at Indianapolis last month in an effort to improve passing. At Michigan, Kenseth led 146 of 200 laps, so any excitement came farther back in the pack.

"Cars could really, at the end of the straightaway, gain on others, two or three car lengths," said Jason Ratcliff, Kenseth's crew chief. "But they just couldn't do much once they got there, and they got down in the corner. They were kind of helpless. On the restarts, it got exciting. … I'd say eighth place back, it was fun to watch. Like Matt said, I'm glad he was watching it in the rear-view mirror."

Kenseth led 73 percent of the laps, the highest by anyone in a Cup race this year, for his 34th career victory. He also gave Joe Gibbs Racing wins in five of the past six races — two by Kenseth, three by Kyle Busch.

"You really need to enjoy it, because about 10 races back, we were struggling, trying to get there," Gibbs said.

Martin Truex was third and Austin Dillon, sent to the back at the beginning of the race because of an engine change, charged to finish fourth.

Busch took another step toward a spot in the Chase for the Championship with an 11th-place run in his backup car, a day after his primary car was damaged in a practice accident. He moved up a spot to 29th in points and, after missing the season's first 11 races with injuries, needs to stay in the top 30 to qualify for the Chase.

Team Penske replaced splitters on the cars of Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski before the race, and NASCAR said it would take the splitters back to the research and development center. NASCAR said it worked with the team during prerace inspection and asked the team to err on the safe side. The change did not affect either driver's starting position.

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