Ross Kenseth turned in one of his best career performances at Berlin Raceway on Tuesday night, leading laps and battling the leaders during the second half of the race before hanging on for a fifth-place finish in the prestigious Berlin 251.
Driving the No. 25 Boyne Machine entry for Donnie Wilson, Kenseth started 13th and spent most of the first half of the race there. Fighting a loose condition early, the car eventually came around the Kenseth's liking before the first and what would end up being his only pit stop of the race on lap 160. Kenseth took two right-side tires and left the pits in third.
A quick caution on the restart sent the leaders back to pit road to get their left side tires, as race rules dictate only two tires can be changed per pit stop. But, Kenseth opted to stay out for track position. Restarting with the lead, with just under 70 laps remaining, Kenseth was side swiped by the second-place car on the restart. Kenseth held it straight, but the other car spun in front of the field creating a massive pile up on the front stretch, prompting a red flag.
Once back under way with 66 laps to go, Kenseth was able to keep Erik Jones (who had stopped for his left side tires) behind him for more than 10 laps, but eventually gave way to Jones, who ended up scoring the victory. The race went green the rest of the way and featured Kenseth in an intense battle with John Hunter Nemechek for second. But, four tires proved better than two as Kenseth got too loose to keep pace with those on four new tires racing around him.
Still, Kenseth managed to hang on over the waning laps to finish fifth, the second-best finish of his career at Berlin Raceway.
"I had a lot of fun tonight at Berlin," said Kenseth. "We only got about 20 laps of practice but I had a blast racing up front tonight. The pit crew was on point and gained us 11 spots on our only stop. Big thanks to Donnie Wilson for letting me wheel his second car. In hindsight, we should have put lefts on at the end, 251 laps on them might have been too much."
Next up for Kenseth is his long-awaited NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at Chicagoland Speedway this Saturday in the AttiCat 300, live on Fox Sports 1 at 9:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at www.chicagolandspeedway.com.