The Chase race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway marked the 500th start for Matt Kenseth. Though that may make him feel old, the driver of the No. 20 is setting himself up to party like it’s 2003.
Kenseth won his seventh race of the season on that milestone of a day, joining Richard Petty as the only other driver to accomplish that feat. It was no surprise that it happened, because the new Joe Gibbs Racing Matt Kenseth is a force worth fearing. Now two-for-two in The Chase, he was emotional in victory lane, repeatedly thanking his crew and JGR for the opportunity to come over to the team. Something tells me they’re thanking him for coming over, too.
He’s not the only bullet the organization has, however. Kyle Busch brought home second place. Chaser Greg Biffle made some noise in third. Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson finished fourth, coming back from horrible stats the last four races of the regular season. In fifth rested Jamie McMurray, the lone non-Chaser in the top five, who also came back from being spun by teammate Juan Pablo Montoya.
Notable Chase shifts include one Kasey Kahne, who started second. He was running in the top ten when he got lose and lost in, hitting the inside wall on the frontstretch. That put a huge dent in his championship hopes.
The top three -Kenseth, Busch, and Johnson- have formed a pack and are pulling away from the other ten contenders, proving that cream does rise to the top.
It’s no surprise that the driver of the No. 20 is at the top of the heap.
Point Standings after New Hampshire
1. Matt Kenseth (–)
2. Kyle Busch (-14)
3. Jimmie Johnson (-18)
4. Carl Edwards (-36)
5. Greg Biffle (-38)
6. Kevin Harvick (-39)
7. Kurt Busch (-40)
8. Jeff Gordon (-42)
9. Ryan Newman (-47)
10. Clint Bowyer (-48)
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-62)
12. Joey Logano (-69)
13. Kasey Kahne (-71)