Matt Kenseth won the Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, maintaining his spot atop the NASCAR Chase standings.
It was his second win in a row to get the Chase started, making him just the third driver to win both opening races, as noted by NASCAR on ESPN:
Matt Kenseth wins New Hampshire; he joins Greg Biffle (2008) and Tony Stewart (2011) as drivers to win the first two Chase races. #NASCAR— NASCAR on ESPN (@ESPNNASCAR) September 22, 2013
Kenseth led for 106 of the 300 laps, outdueling Kyle Busch, who gave him all he could handle down the stretch. Sound pit strategy and excellent road discipline paved the way for Kenseth's victory, though Busch thought perhaps some magic was involved:
Kyle: "I fought hard and tried everything, but the 20 (Kenseth) just had more than us all weekend. Sometimes you get those magical cars."— NASCAR on ESPN (@ESPNNASCAR) September 22, 2013
Heading into the AAA 400 next weekend, Kenseth has a 14-point lead over Busch and the rest of the field, as noted by NASCAR Stats:
To view the entire standings, please visit NASCAR.com.
Can Kenseth Keep Up this Incredible Run?
Since winning at Bristol, Kenseth has won three of five starts and two in a row.
He's won seven races in 2013, which is three more than any other driver on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit and two more than he's ever won in his career.
Will Kenseth win the Chase?
If not for some inconsistencies during races he didn't win, Kenseth would lead the Chase by a long shot. As it stands, he is just 14 points ahead of Kyle Busch.
This means he needs to continue placing in the top three the next few races to ensure he wins the Cup this season. Given his hot streak of late, it's certainly doable, but it's always difficult to maintain such a high standard of excellence for long periods of time.
Greg Biffle Gaining Momentum
Of all the drivers on the track on Sunday, Biffle made the biggest move in the standings.
When the race began, Biffle was in 11th place, but a third-place finish at Loudon vaulted him up into the top five—just 38 points behind Kenseth.
A win at Michigan earlier this season highlighted Biffle's 2013 campaign, but he's struggled throughout much of the season.
However, he appears to be getting hot at just the right time. With a couple more top finishes, Biffle has a legitimate chance of winning the Chase this year.
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