Two weeks, two Chase wins for Matt Kenseth.
Kenseth won Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the second race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, much like he won the first Chase race at Chicagoland a week earlier, pulling away from teammate Kyle Busch on the final restart and beating him to the finish line.
Busch got close to Kenseth's bumper over the last few laps but didn't get close enough to come close to making a pass.
An emotional Kenseth called Loudon one of his worst performing tracks in victory lane, but he was not poor on Sunday. After staying near the front, he took the lead for good with 93 laps to go and wasn't passed on the track since.
It was Kenseth's first win at New Hampshire after finishing ninth in the spring. Before Joining Joe Gibbs Racing at the beginning of the season, he had one top 10 finish in the past five seasons at the flat one-mile track.
With the win, Kenseth joins Tony Stewart in 2011 and Greg Biffle in 2008 as the only drivers to win the first two races of the Chase. In 2011, Stewart went on to win the championship, winning three other races.
It's Kenseth's seventh win of the season, and he now leads Busch by 18 points in the Chase standings., despite his teammate finishing second to him in both of those Chase races. Perhaps most strikingly, Kenseth leads fourth place Carl Edwards by 36 points, which is 36 positions on the track, minus a lap led or two. Jimmie Johnson is third, four points behind Busch. Is it already a three person race to the Chase?
While it may be a bit premature to officially declare that, if it was, it wouldn't be the most surprising development in the world. Kenseth, Busch and Johnson have been the strongest drivers in the series this season and have combined for 14 wins in 28 races. Though if Kenseth keeps this pace, even Johnson and Busch won't have a chance.
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- New Hampshire Motor Speedway