Matt Kenseth wins Chase opener in Chicagoland

Matt Kenseth celebrates after winning Sunday night's race at Chicagoland. (AFP)

Matt Kenseth celebrates after winning Sunday night's race at Chicagoland. (AFP)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:42 AM ET

JOLIET, ILL. - It would appear that even Mother Nature is mad at NASCAR for the series of scandals resulting from antics last week at Richmond International Raceway.

On Sunday, rain drenched what was supposed to be the launch of a new era in the first race of the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship at Chicagoland Speedway, without the stench of team orders that had tarnished the sport’s credibility over the past eight days.

When the rain finally stopped and the track dried after a delay of five hours 10 minutes and 21 seconds — yes it is someone’s job to keep track — Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota was in Victory Lane.

In doing so he padded his lead in the Chase where he was the No. 1 seed.

Kenseth was behind his teammate Kyle Busch on the final restart but he got help from Kevin Harvick who pushed him to the front.

“I thought at the beginning tonight we were going to be off a little, but I got a big push from Kevin,” Kenseth said.


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