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article imageNASCAR: Kenseth goes two-for-two to open 'Chase', stays grounded Special

By John Duarte     Sep 23, 2013 in Sports
Loudon - You could hardly blame Matt Kenseth if he started admiring the Sprint Cup. But, even after winning the first two races in the Chase for the 2013 NASCAR championship, Kenseth is not looking too far down the calendar.
“I know it's kind of cliché, but it really is one week at a time, especially right now,” says Kenseth. “Two whole months... eight weeks of racing is a lot of racing, and in this system one bad finish and you're behind.”
After winning the Sylvania 300 on Sunday, his second win in two Chase for the Sprint Cup races in 2013, Kenseth refuses to start dreaming of his second NASCAR title. He was champion in 2003.
“My outlook is really not any different or approach honestly,” he says. “If you get down toward the end and you're lucky enough to have a lead or something, maybe you start looking at that more or thinking about it more.”
Kenseth has had a great year. He has won seven races, eight times he's been in the Top 5 and has finished in the Top 10 in 15 of 28 races on the schedule. It's been a remarkable ride, but Kenseth, known for not showing a lot of emotion, is staying grounded and just going about his business.
“I've said this over and over and you guys are probably sick of hearing it, but it's just been an unbelievable year,” he says. “I just really enjoy being part of it; when you can have success on top of it obviously that makes it even more fun.”
Part of the fun is the fact that the 2013 Sylvania 300 was a milestone race for Kenseth. It was the 500th race of his Sprint Cup career. To win a race like that is something special.
“It's really meaningful to me. The 500th start. I'm glad to get the win.” After a moment of reflection, Kenseth breaks into a slight smile and says, “Honestly starts are kind of like birthdays; when they start getting that high you kind of wish that people weren't counting them anymore.”
Kenseth's NASCAR career spans 16 years. He was rookie of the year in 2000 and has won the Daytona 500 twice (2009 and 2012). The seven wins to this point are two more than Kenseth's previous career best. Oddly enough, he won only one race in 2003, when he was Sprint Car champion. Kenseth doesn't believe there is a correlation between winning races and winning the championship.
“I don't think there's a magic formula,” he says.“You just have to have more points than whoever finishes second. That's how you win it.”
Though he can sit back and savour his second victory of this year's Chase, Kenseth admits he was not enthusiastic heading into the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“You never go to the track and hope to just get through the weekend yet, if I had to pick all the races, this is probably the one I had probably more anxiety over than most because I really feel like I'm the weak link here,” Kenseth says. “I was a little bit worried about this weekend more so than some tracks just because it has been a tough track for me.  It's tough to pass, it's easy to get shuffled back on a restart and not get such a good finish.”
Kenseth started the race from the ninth position and worked his way through the field to win the Sylvania 300. For the second week in a row, Kyle Busch finished second behind his teammate. Greg Biffle was third.
Kenseth is in control of the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings, at least for the time being. His back-to-back wins give him a 14-point lead over Busch and is 18 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson, who finished fourth this weekend.
Kenseth goes for three in a row at the Monster Mile, in the AAA 400. The third round of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series championship goes at Delaware's Dover International Speedway, on Sept. 29. As for Kenseth, he's not about to sit around resting on his laurels.
“I think that I'll enjoy the heck out of this tonight and start working on thinking about Dover tomorrow and figure out how we can go there and perform well,” he says. “Like I say, just take it one week at a time and hope we keep getting the results.”
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