Chicagoland Wrap-Up: Matt Kenseth Opens Chase With A Win

JOLIET, IL – SEPT. 15: Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 15, 2013 in Joliet, Ill. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

It took nearly eight hours to complete, but when the checkered flag fell on the GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, Matt Kenseth was leading Joe Gibbs Racing to a 1-2 finish to open the Chase. 

The number one seed heading into the Chase, Kenseth proved if anyone wants to win the 2013 championship they’ll have to go through the No. 20 team to do it.

On a night when a number of Chase drivers had issues, Kenseth and his JGR teammate Kyle Busch were nearly flawless, combining to lead 156 of the 267 laps.

"I was worried about the rain, the track conditions in the nighttime," Kenseth said. "I thought we were going to be better in a hotter, slick condition."

In typically Kenseth fashion, he laughed it off by saying, "but that just shows you I don’t know what I’m talking about."

Kenseth’s dry whit didn’t end there.

Due to the 5 hour, 10 minutes and 21 second rain delay, NASCAR teams got to watch a lot of football. 

A die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, Kenseth didn’t let team owner Joe Gibbs forget about the Packers 38-20 victory over the Washington Redskins, the team Gibbs led to three Super Bowl championships. 

"Coach also needed the win tonight," Kenseth said. "I don’t know if anybody saw the Packers game."

"He’s not stopped all day, he’s not stopped," Gibbs said with a smile. 

A popular win among both fans and competitors, Kenseth’s move to JGR has breathed new life into the 2003 Sprint Cup Series champion. 


Kenseth wasn’t the only one with a sense of humor after a long weekend at the track. 

Coming one spot shy of sweeping the weekend’s three races, Kyle Busch let NASCAR’s Kerry Tharp know he gave it his all going for the win Sunday night.


While the Gibbs cars were out front most of the night, Kevin Harvick flew under the radar and came home in the third spot. 

Thought to be a ‘lame duck’ early in the season, Harvick and his Richard Childress Racing crew are proving to be a threat for the title. 

FOX Sports’ Bob Diller caught up with Harvick after his third-place run. 


After a week of controversy, debate, accusations, national attention and closed-door meetings, it’s safe to say everyone was looking forward to getting back to racing Sunday afternoon.

Mother Nature, on the other hand, had other plans. 

The week that couldn’t get any longer did just that as rains brought on a five hour rain delay. 

Determined to get the race restarted, NASCAR and track officials worked tirelessly while many doubted their efforts. 

When all was said and done, fans saw a great race, the Chase standings were shaken up, the controversies of the past week were put to rest (for now), and there were a lot of exhausted people at the end of the day. 

Perhaps best illustrated by John Lewensten, Vice President of Jimmie Johnson Racing.