Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth, in his first year within the No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Tools Toyota Camry, locked up the No. 1 seed in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup after a five-win performance this season. He also finished sixth in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway, the last race before the Chase.
Kenseth started fifth in the race, led five laps and said he struggled with the car throughout the race. “We ended up finishing the night decent - we just kind of struggled with the car,” said Kenseth post-race. “We got it a little better some runs and the last couple cautions fell our way and the last restart fell our way. We were in the right lane for once and made up some spots. We finished better than we ran, but we were off a little bit. I feel good going to Chicago - it will be alright.”
Kyle Busch, in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota on Saturday night, also made the Chase as the third seed thanks to four “regular season” wins, including a win Labor Day weekend at Atlanta. After qualifying 13th, Busch came home 19th after fighting an ill-handling Camry throughout the 400-lap race.
“Certainly last week was a lot more promising situation to be going into the Chase than tonight for our M&M’s/American Heritage Chocolate Toyota,” said Busch. “We’ve got to look at our program and where we’ve been - mile-and-a-halves have kind of been our strong suit. You still have those races like Loudon and Martinsville and Phoenix that you have to be good at, too. We’ll just have to work and lay all the pieces out and see what needs to be better here with the Monday morning meeting.”
Denny Hamlin, missing the Chase thanks in most part to missing four races early in the season with a back injury, finished 21st at Richmond after starting sixth in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota.
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