Chicagoland winner Matt Kenseth heads to the second round of the 2013 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup with a historic landmark he’s hitting. He’ll run a special silver paint scheme on his No. 20 Husky/Dollar General/Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing to celebrate his 500th Sprint Cup Series start.
Kenseth isn’t alone in hitting a milestone or anniversary at Loudon this Sunday. One-time teammate and mentor Mark Martin, who was instrumental in Kenseth’s early years in NASCAR from 1998 through 2000 at Roush Racing, will start his 875th Cup race on Sunday in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. He trails only Richard Petty (1,185), Ricky Rudd (906), Terry Labonte (885) and Dave Marcis (883) on the all-time list.
David Gilliland also makes his 250th career start this weekend. The driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford hasn’t made many headlines over the course of his career, but is a former Daytona 500 polesitter and finished second to teammate David Ragan at Talladega earlier this year in a shock result. Gilliland’s team, meanwhile, was in the news for its role in potential position-swapping for payoff with Penske Racing at Richmond. Joey Logano said the pass on Gilliland was “not that big a deal.”
Meanwhile, defending Sylvania 300 champion Denny Hamlin returns to the site of his most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory one year later, having not visited victory lane since.