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UPS Game-Changing Moments: Chicagoland

September 15, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

UPS Game-Changing Moments: Chicagoland
Moments that changed the course of the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup

UPS


KENSETH GETS WINNING PUSH FROM HARVICK  

Matt Kenseth, the top seed in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, added to his advantage in Sunday's rain-interrupted GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
 
With a strong push from Kevin Harvick after a restart with on Lap 245 of 267, Kenseth pulled away to beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to the checkered flag and deny Busch the second three-series weekend sweep of his career.
 
The victory was Kenseth's sixth of the season, tops in the Cup series. The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota claimed his first win at Chicagoland and the 30th of his career.

ENGINE FAILURE HURTS LOGANO'S TITLE HOPES

Joey Logano’s debut appearance in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup had started off so well.

The Penske Racing driver won the pole for the playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway, and led the opening 32 laps on the 1.5-mile track. But after a five-hour rain delay and a subsequent flurry of cautions that jumbled the field, Logano began falling back with what was soon diagnosed as an engine problem.

With two cylinders down, Logano stayed in the race as long as he could -- until the engine let go on lap 176, sending its driver to the garage area and toward bottom of a Chase field that was expanded to 13 drivers this week with addition of Jeff Gordon.

JOHNSON, GORDON BOUNCE BACK FOR STRONG FINISHES

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon both overcame considerable adversity to finish fifth and sixth, respectively, as Chase drivers claimed the top six spots in the finishing order and 10 of the first 12.

“Just a great effort you know we never gave up just got to keep working through things,” Johnson said. “That second to last run we had a very fast race car and got up to the front and thought I had a chance to win this thing, but that last run we just didn’t have what we needed and came home in fifth.”

“Well, that was an incredible accomplishment. It just shows how much fight this team has in them,” Gordon said. “We never give up. And, what an awesome Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet race car we had tonight. Whoa! Man, it was so much fun!  To think how far down we were with 40 laps to go, I know we were like 18th on one of those last restarts. So, to be able to come up through there and get 6th and have a shot at a top-5 was a lot of fun.”

David Caraviello and the NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this report.