Matt Kenseth makes it two in a row, for the Chase, with his win at New Hampshire for the 17th Annual Sylvania 300. This is Kenseth 7th victory and 15th top 10 finishes in 2013 and his 31st victory in 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts.
Kenseth joins Richard Petty in being the only driver to have won on his 500th career start. Kenseth ran a special paint scheme commemorating his 500th start.
Kenseth led 106 laps for 4 separate occasions which is a personal best for Kenseth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway his previous best was in July 2002 race with 77 laps.
This is the third time a driver has won the first two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, most recent was Tony Stewart in 2011, Stewart went on the win the championship that season, and Greg Biffle in 2008.
“Thanks, guys. This is more than a dream come true.” Kenseth said over the radio to his crew after crossing the finish line.
“To win at Loudon is more than a stretch, more than a dream,” Kenseth said in victory lane on his 500 start. “It’s probably one of my worst places. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be standing here.”
“I keep saying take it one week at a time. It’s been a great run for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing),” Kenseth continued. “All three teams are working really closely together.”
Kenseth took the lead from Clint Bowyer during a restart with 92 laps remaining and had just enough to hang on to the lead with two restarts in the final 50 laps during the Sylvania 300. Just like last week at Chicagoland, teammate Kyle Busch followed Kenseth across the finish line 0.533 seconds behind.
Even with his teammate closing in the final laps of the race, Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Peanut Butter Toyota, recognized that Kenseth had the superior car.
“Certainly, we were never as fast this weekend as the #20 (Kenseth) was,” said Busch. “They just had a special car. Sometimes you unload with them, and they’re just phenomenal. The 20 had that here this weekend. We tried everything to try to keep up with him and to get pace with him, but it was tough to do.”
Biffle finished third, moving him to 5th in the point standings, with Jimmie Johnson 4th and Jamie McMurray 5th, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. round out the top ten.
Kenseth, Busch and Jimmie Johnson have proven to be the strongest drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season and the three drivers have 15 victories amongst themselves in 28 races this season. Kenseth with 7 victories, Kyle Busch and Johnson each with 4 wins. These three drivers lead the Champion point standings, Kenseth with 2,111 points, Busch in second with 2,097 points (-14) and Johnson in third with 2,093 points (-18).
Next weekend, Sunday, September 29, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series head to Dover International Speedway for the third race of the Chase the AAA 400. Coverage for the AAA 400 will be televised on ESPN starting at 2:00 pm eastern time.