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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES

Matt Kenseth wins opening race in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup

Driver overtakes Kyle Bush, who finishes second, with 23 laps to go to win the Geico 400, which is delayed twice because of rain at Chicagoland Speedway.

September 15, 2013|By Jack McCarthy
  • Matt Kenseth was victorious at the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday after rain delayed the first Chase for the Sprint Cup race for more than six hours between two rain delays.
Matt Kenseth was victorious at the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on… (Robert Laberge / Getty Images )

JOLIET, Ill. — The focus returned to racing Sunday after the most bizarre week in NASCAR history.

Sprint Cup Series points leader Matt Kenseth slipped ahead of Kyle Busch with 23 laps to go and never relinquished the lead on his way to winning the twice-delayed Geico 400, the opening race in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup.

"I thought conditions were going to be a little off tonight," said Kenseth, who won his sixth race this season. "We were a little tight there at the end and I wasn't sure I was going to get Kyle, but I'm glad we got out front."

Kevin Harvick finished third and Kurt Busch was fourth.

Kenseth took advantage of a late restart to squeeze ahead of Busch, who finished 0.749 seconds behind the winner. Busch was hoping for a historic three-race weekend sweep.

The Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway went from an afternoon run to a late show after two rain delays, including a 5-hour 10-minute suspension after 108 laps.

The 267-lap race resumed under the lights with 158 laps remaining and series points leader Kenseth in the lead.

Pole sitter Joey Logano was knocked out of the race with 175 laps left because of mechanical problems.

Busch took over first in the 170th lap and held it most of the way until Kenseth got past him with 23 laps left.

Sentimental favorite Jeff Gordon, added to the Chase field Saturday, led for 17 laps just past the midpoint and closed in sixth.

The unscheduled late-night Geico 400 was the latest development in a week of fallout after a controversial Sept. 7 finish at Richmond.

NASCAR officials issued a series of fines and suspensions, altered race rules and policies and engineered an unprecedented subtraction and two additions to the Chase field.

sports@latimes.com

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