Kenseth dominates but still comes up empty at Talladega

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Matt Kenseth’s won twice this year for Joe Gibbs Racing, and been at the wrong end of penalties levied by NASCAR against his team, owner and crewmembers.

On Sunday, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time despite dominating in Talladega.

Kenseth led a race-high 142 of 192 laps in the rain-delayed, then green-white-checkered extended Aaron’s 499, but fell to eighth at the checkered flag thanks to a train of cars passing him after the final restart.

“Just thinking about our day, it’s encouraging but it’s also really frustrating,” Kenseth told the Associated Press. “I think we’ve led the most laps four or five times and I’m fortunate and thankful that we won two races. I just feel like there’s been a few that I’ve left on the table or we’ve left on the table, for whatever reason.

“Hopefully, we can keep the performance up and I can figure out the right things to do there at the end to keep my car in the right spot and we can collect some more wins.”

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.