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Matt Kenseth turns in a ‘respectable Sunday’ with second-place finish

Even though Matt Kenseth finished second behind Kyle Busch at the Brickyard 400, he doesn't believe he'll be able to carry this experience over into next year's race.

Matt Kenseth was in position to win his first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon, but he couldn’t keep up with teammate Kyle Busch.

As Busch drove away to his second consecutive Brickyard win, it was Kenseth who followed him across the finish line. Although Joe Gibbs Racing had brought a fleet of fast cars, Kenseth was unable to overtake Busch for the race lead.

“It didn’t seem like it,” Kenseth said of whether he had anything for Busch. “We never got in front of him all day, and the clean air is always really big here.”

Sunday was the third time in 17 Indianapolis starts that Kenseth finished second. More importantly, it was a nice recovery for the No. 20 Dollar General team as the weekend appeared to be headed in the opposite direction when Kenseth practiced and qualified outside the top 10.

It took 40 laps into the 170-lap event, however, for Kenseth to take up residence inside the top 10. Through the second half of the race, he became a constant inside the top five and had a shot at Busch on four restarts inside the final 10 laps.

“It was a great day for our Dollar General Camry,” Kenseth said. “We did not have a good Friday, did not have a good Saturday and a pretty respectable Sunday, so I have to thank all my teammates for helping us out. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) made some great changes. We were pretty competitive all day, just never got quite to the lead to see what we had.”

With the finish, Kenseth officially clinched a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Follow @KellyCrandall