|Matt Kenseth grabs first career win at New Hampshire|
Kenseth won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in his 500th career start to send his strongest message yet that he intends to contend for the Sprint Cup championship. His seven wins are a series-high this season and a career-high for Kenseth, who has won the first two races of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The last driver to win the first two Chase races — Tony Stewart in 2011 — went on to win the Cup title.
"I don’t know what to say except, praise the Lord, man," Kenseth said. "This is just an unbelievable opportunity. For me to win at Loudon is more than a stretch and more than a dream. It’s probably one of my worst places. That just shows how good this whole team is. "
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff, who is in his first season with Kenseth, says his driver deserves much of the credit.
"He doesn’t take enough credit," Ratcliff said. "You don’t just come out here and win on any given Sunday. This guy has done an incredible job. It’s been an incredible season for us."
Incredible for all of Joe Gibbs Racing.
Kenseth, who had never won at New Hampshire, took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. on Lap 153 and then regained it on a restart on Lap 208 and held on to beat teammate Kyle Busch for the second straight week.
"It has been a great start for JGR," Kenseth said. "All three teams are working real close together. I just feel like the luckiest guy in the world standing here."
"There is a reason why we think we are the best, and we showed it these first two weeks," Busch said.
The win allowed Kenseth to pad his lead in the Chase standings. He started the Chase with a three-point lead, but now leads Busch by 14 points and five-time champion Jimmie Johnson by 18 in what is quickly becoming a three-driver race for the championship.
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