Kenseth wins delayed Chase opener

Kenseth wins delayed Chase opener

Cup Series

Kenseth wins delayed Chase opener

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Long day and night ended well for Kenseth. (LAT photo)

Matt Kenseth claimed the early advantage in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase by winning a delayed Chicagoland race.

Heavy rain showers meant an event originally due to commence at midday local time finally finished at 11 p.m. The start was delayed nearly two hours as efforts to dry the track took place, and then further rain forced a red flag stoppage of over five hours on lap 109 of 267.

Kenseth had usurped Jimmie Johnson atop the championship just as the points were reset at Richmond last week. He and Joe Gibbs teammate Kyle Busch made their way to the front during the “daytime” segment of the Chicagoland race and led the majority of laps when it eventually resumed under the lights.

Busch was ahead at the final restart 20 laps from the end, and had a shot at sweeping the weekend following Truck and Nationwide wins. But Kenseth got the better run at the green and took the lead, then established enough of a cushion to keep Busch at bay to the flag.

Richard Childress Racing’s Kevin Harvick fended off Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson for third.

Both Harvick’s pursuers had to fight back from pit delays. Busch was infuriated by a speeding penalty, while Johnson was erroneously held by an official suspecting a lugnut issue at his second stop and then later had a problem with his Hendrick Chevrolet’s jack.

His teammate Jeff Gordon came back from a puncture for sixth, followed by Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman.

Polesitter Joey Logano led early on but was one of several drivers to suffer an engine failure, a fate shared by fellow Chase contender Dale Earnhardt Jr. and a very disgruntled Denny Hamlin.

Results - 267 laps:Pos  Driver              Team/Car                        Time/Gap 1.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota            3h10m56.000s 2.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota                 +0.749s 3.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet              +3.626s 4.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet          +3.808s 5.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet               +4.704s 6.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet               +4.871s 7.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                      +5.065s 8.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford                +6.856s 9.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota                   +8.254s10.  Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           +8.712s11.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford               +10.966s12.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet              +12.236s13.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                      +12.713s14.  Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet             +13.348s15.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                      +14.700s16.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford               +15.533s17.  Mark Martin         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet          +15.814s18.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota                  +16.713s19.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevolet      +17.638s20.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet          +18.499s21.  AJ Allmendinger     JTG Daugherty Toyota            +19.386s22.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet             +20.085s23.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet               +23.877s24.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                         +1 lap25.  JJ Yeley            Baldwin Chevrolet                 +1 lap26.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford                    +1 lap27.  Justin Allgaier     Phoenix Chevrolet                 +1 lap28.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                    +1 lap29.  Landon Cassill      Hilman Chevrolet                  +1 lap30.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                      +1 lap31.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                      +1 lap32.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevolet       +6 lapsRetirements:     Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota                247 laps     Timmy Hill          FAS Lane Ford                   225 laps     Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet              224 laps     David Reutimann     BK Toyota                       195 laps     Joey Logano         Penske Ford                     175 laps     Brian Vickers       Waltrip Toyota                  161 laps     Cole Whitt          Swan Toyota                     151 laps     Tony Raines         Circle Sport Chevrolet           87 laps     Josh Wise           Front Row Ford                   84 laps     Reed Sorenson       Leavine Ford                     68 laps     Michael McDowell    Parsons Ford                     29 laps

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