Originally created 08/28/99

Kenseth cuts into Earnhardt's Busch lead



BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Matt Kenseth chipped into Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s lead atop the NASCAR Busch Grand National driver standings with a dominating victory in the Food City 250 on Friday night.

Kenseth led twice for 169 of the 250 laps, including the final 93 circuits around Bristol Motor Speedway, for his fourth victory of the season. He finished about four car-lengths ahead of Michael Waltrip, and it was another 12 car-lengths back to Earnhardt in third place.

Kenseth, who came to Bristol's .533-mile, high-banked oval trailing Earnhardt by 89 points, cut his deficit to 69 with eight events left on the 34-race schedule.

"That's not much," Kenseth said, "but the main thing is we're back in Victory Lane."

Earnhardt, bidding for his second consecutive Grand National title, had won five of nine races heading to Bristol, but he was no match for Kenseth, who started third and never strayed too far from the lead.

"We were just not as strong as Matt," Earnhardt said. "I was trying to save it the first 50 laps, and then the last 50, I didn't have anything left for Matt. To come home third was not a bad deal for us, though."

Earnhardt started fifth and stayed near the front all night, but he never was able to get up front. That honor belonged almost exclusively to Kenseth over the last half of the race.