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Matt Kenseth Wins Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway

September 16th, 2013 at 7:28 AM
By Clayton Caldwell

Matt Kenseth denied teammate Kyle Busch of a weekend sweep and won the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Kenseth got a push from Kevin Harvick on a lap 245 restart and beat Busch by 0.749 seconds. It's Kenseth's sixth win of the season and the 30th of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. Kenseth described the feeling of winning at Chicagoland Speedway

"I’ve always wanted to win here in Chicago," an elated Kenseth said in Victory Lane. "It’s only a couple hours from where I grew up–up in Wisconsin. So it feels great to finally get the win here. We’ve been close a lot."

Kevin Harvick finished in the third position with Kurt Busch coming home fourth and Jimmie Johnson fifth. Jeff Gordon finished in the sixth position with Brad Keselowski coming home seventh, Ricky Stenhouse Jr eighth, Clint Bowyer ninth and Ryan Newman rounded out the top ten. 

'20 Matt Kenseth, 2013 STP Gas Booster 500' photo (c) 2013, chayes_2014 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

After an hour and a half rain delay pole sitter Joey Logano led early in the event. He led the first 32 laps until the competition caution came out on lap 32. It was a chance for teams to check their tire wear and work on the handling of their racecars. When the race restarted on lap 36 Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch led the field to the green. Johnson restarted the race but it was Kyle Busch who led the field to the line, as NASCAR had changed the restart rule prior to the event. The second place car could now beat the lead car to the start-finish line. 

Busch would get the lead but would be passed by Johnson again and Johnson would lead from lap 38 all the way to lap 74, before he came down pit road to start a round of green flag pit stops. When the pit stops cycled around it was Matt Kenseth in the lead on lap 83 and Kenseth began to put on a punishing pace. 

Rains began to threaten the skies around the Chicagoland Speedway and many drivers were trying to make it to halfway. Kenseth led until lap 109 when the races' second caution flag of the afternoon flew when Cole Whitt spun on the frontstretch. Whitt was running his first race of the 2013 season for Swan Racing. During the spin Whitt made contact with Juan Pablo Montoya, resulting in Montoya having a tire rub.

Meanwhile the rain began to fall under the caution and quickly NASCAR lost the racetrack and the race had to be stopped on 109. The race would be delayed for five hours and ten minutes. When the race finally restarted on lap 117 it was completely dark over the Speedway and Matt Kenseth was in front. Kenseth led and began to pull away from the field. On lap 120 Juan Pablo Montoya began to experience a tire rub. Montoya was involved in an earlier accident and the tire eventually blew on his #42 Chevrolet, causing the race to be slowed for the third time due to debris. 

Kenseth led the field to the lap 129 restart and pulled away again. By lap 145 Kenseth's lead was 1.5 seconds. On lap 147 Joey Logano began to experience issues on his #22 Penske Racing Ford. Logano was running up in the top five when his car began to slow. He radioed into his crew that he thought he was losing power. On that same lap, Justin Allgaier would spin on the backstretch making slight contact with the wall. Allgaier was making his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut, driving for car owner Harry Scott. He finished 27th.

The race went back green but Cole Whitt then blew his engine in a big fireball down the backstretch to bring out the fifth caution. He finished 39th.

The leaders would pit and several cars took two tires including leaders Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers who led the field to green on the lap 159 restart. Gordon got off to a good restart and led, but soon received pressure from Carl Edwards. Edwards passed Gordon for the lead on lap 159 but Gordon would fight back hard and take the lead before reaching the start-finish line.

On lap 163 another car began to experience problems. Brian Vickers would begin to slow and on lap 161 and would pull his car behind the wall with engine issues. Vickers finished 38th. Gordon remained up front and led until debris caused the races' sixth caution on lap 169.

Greg Biffle did not pit and led on the restart with Kyle Busch in second as the race restarted on lap 175. Biffle led the first two laps on the restart before Kyle Busch battled back and took the lead. Busch was leading when Jeff Gordon had problems on his #24 Chevrolet. Gordon had a left rear tire going flat on his car and was forced to pit under green losing a lap. It was a tough break for the four time champion.

Meanwhile Busch was pulling away from the field and would continue to do so until lap 177 when Joey Logano's engine expired. Logano had been off the pace for several laps and his engine finally let go. He finished 37th.

'' photo (c) 2013, Parker Anderson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The race restarted on lap 181 with Kyle Busch pulling away and showing his muscle. Busch led by 1.1 seconds on lap 187. On lap 195, David Reutimann had problems on his #83 Burger King Toyota. Reutimann had an engine fail and finished 36th. Busch, meanwhile, led until lap 219 when he pitted under green. Green flag pit stops began and during the round Dale Earnhardt Jr's engine would expire on lap 224, causing the races' eighth caution flag. Earnhardt finished in the 35th position. Jeff Gordon was still on the track and actually now leading when the caution came out so it put him back in the race.

The race restarted on lap 231 and Busch was still in front as Gordon pitted under the caution. On lap 240, Paul Menard and Justin Allgaier would spin causing the races' ninth and final caution flag. Both drivers would have minimal damage and continue. Menard finished 22nd. 

When the race restarted on lap 244 after a long cleanup and Busch was still in front, but it was short lived as teammate Matt Kenseth made a move on Busch and passed him for the lead in Turns 1 and 2. Kenseth began to pull away from his teammate and sailed to his sixth victory of the season. 

Other notables in the field included, Carl Edwards in 11th, Kasey Kahne in 12th, Greg Biffle in 16th and Danica Patrick in 20th. Denny Hamlin's engine blew up on lap 245 and he finished 33rd. 

Matt Kenseth leads the points after Chicagoland as he has an eight point lead over Kyle Busch. Third in the standings is Jimmie Johnson, who is 11 points back with Kevin Harvick fourth in the standings 15 points behind. Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch are both 23 points behind the leader and are fifth and sixth in the standings. Sitting seventh in the standings is Jeff Gordon, who is 24 points behind and Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer are both 28 points back in eighth and ninth. Kasey Kahne is tenth in the standings as he sits 31 points back the same amount as Greg Biffle who is 11th in the points. Sitting 12th in the standings is Joey Logano who is 52 points behind and Dale Earnhardt Jr is 13th, 53 points off the lead. 

The next race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule is the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sunday, September 22nd. 

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Tags: Chicagoland Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr., GEICO 400, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, matt kenseth, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

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