Kenseth secures place in Chase

Matt Kenseth secured his place in this year's Chase for the Championship with three races to spare by winning the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan

Kenseth secures place in Chase

Kenseth was on a different pit strategy to the majority of the field before he got a lucky break, when a caution was called on lap 160 of the 200-lap encounter, just two laps shy of when he would have had to make a green flag pitstop.

When the field went back to racing again, he passed Clint Bowyer for the lead, and pulled away to take a comfortable victory.

Jeff Gordon began to chase him down as the laps wound down, but he didn't have enough pace to put himself in contention for the victory.

The situation mirrored last month's Chicagoland race, where Gordon caught Kenseth, before the pair collided, Kenseth spun out and Gordon took the win.

"I was hoping he wasn't going to catch me again," Kenseth joked afterwards. "I was having flashbacks!

"I just didn't want to use up my front tyres, so I decided to go slow at the start of the run to save my tyres.

"I knew everybody had to pit one more time. I gave Robbie [Reiser, crew chief] so much crap because of our pit strategy after Watkins Glen. I'm glad he got it right today."

Gordon was content with second, a result that moved him up three spots in the points standing to sixth.

"We needed this day," Gordon said. "It was a great fight. We made some great adjustments - I couldn't be more proud of everyone.

"I would have liked to have caught Matt - to show everyone I can pass him cleanly! But congratulations to him, he did a great job."

Tony Stewart also had a strong points day with third from 33rd on the grid, moving him up two positions up to fifth in the current standings.

"We did an awesome job today," Stewart said. "We had a tight car at the beginning and battled our way through. The pitstops separated a bunch of people, so we didn't have to pass all those cars."

Kasey Kahne, who won at the same track back in June, finished a strong fourth, however it wasn't enough to put him back in the top ten provisional Chase spots.

Mark Martin moved up two spots in the standings with fifth place, just beating yesterday's Busch series race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr, by just over one hundredth of a second.

Some Chase contenders had a poor day, however. Kyle Busch retired after a tyre puncture, and he collided with the wall on lap 41, and pole-sitter Jeff Burton parked up with engine problems on lap 26.

Kurt Busch all but eliminated himself from Chase contention with a crash 73 laps from the end.

Like Kenseth, championship leader Jimmie Johnson secured his place in the Chase with his result. He finished 13th, having recovered from a first lap crash where he slid wide and into the wall on his own.

Pos Driver Make Laps 1. Matt Kenseth Ford 200 2. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 200 3. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 200 4. Kasey Kahne Dodge 200 5. Mark Martin Ford 200 6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 200 7. Greg Biffle Ford 200 8. Reed Sorenson Dodge 200 9. Denny Hamlin Chevrolet 200 10. Elliott Sadler Dodge 200 11. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 200 12. Robby Gordon Chevrolet 200 13. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 200 14. Scott Riggs Dodge 200 15. Brian Vickers Chevrolet 200 16. Casey Mears Dodge 200 17. Jamie McMurray Ford 200 18. Ken Schrader Ford 200 19. Bobby Labonte Dodge 200 20. Paul Menard Chevrolet 200 21. Travis Kvapil Chevrolet 200 22. Carl Edwards Ford 200 23. Michael Waltrip Dodge 200 24. Dave Blaney Dodge 200 25. Ryan Newman Dodge 200 26. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 200 27. Jeff Green Chevrolet 200 28. David Stremme Dodge 200 29. Sterling Marlin Chevrolet 199 30. Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 199 31. Kyle Petty Dodge 199 32. Tony Raines Chevrolet 199 33. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 197 34. Derrike Cope Dodge 197 35. Hermie Sadler Ford 197 36. Dale Jarrett Ford 166 37. J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 158 38. David Gilliland Ford 145 39. Kyle Busch Chevrolet 132 40. Kurt Busch Dodge 127 41. Kevin Lepage Dodge 103 42. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 18 43. Todd Kluever Ford 10 CURRENT POINTS STANDING Secure position for the Chase: ------------------------------ 1. Jimmie Johnson 3365 2. Matt Kenseth 3307 - 58 Current Chase contenders: ------------------------- 3. Kevin Harvick 3048 - 317 4. Mark Martin 2970 - 395 5. Tony Stewart 2959 - 406 6. Jeff Gordon 2931 - 434 7. Kyle Busch 2922 - 443 8. Denny Hamlin 2920 - 445 9. Jeff Burton 2916 - 449 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2881 - 484 Still with a chance for the Chase: ---------------------------------- 11. Kasey Kahne 2832 - 533 12. Greg Biffle 2692 - 673 13. Carl Edwards 2637 - 728 14. Kurt Busch 2602 - 763 15. Brian Vickers 2484 - 881 16. Jamie McMurray 2455 - 910 17. Casey Mears 2452 - 913 18. Ryan Newman 2444 - 921 19. Clint Bowyer 2414 - 951 
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