He may only be 11 races into his career with Joe Gibbs Racing, but Matt Kenseth seems to be hotter than ever. With three wins already this season and seven top-10 finishes, can anyone stop him?
Matt Kenseth spent his entire Sprint Cup Career with Roush Fenway Racing behind the wheel of the No. 17 Ford. He had 24 wins, 126 top-5 and 232 top-10 finishes with RFR yet he felt the need to change teams. Now he finds himself behind the wheel of a Toyota, driving the No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing and he is off to the hottest start of his career.
Kenseth started off the season with a strong showing at the Daytona 500 until his engine decided it just wasn’t his time to win the Great American Race. Two races later, he was standing in Victory Lane in Las Vegas, just three races into his career with JGR.
He followed up his Vegas win with a wrecked car at Bristol, but came back to win a few races later at Kansas from the Pole. The next weekend at Richmond, he won the Pole again and finished seventh. Moving ahead to last weekend’s race at Darlington, Kenseth brought home his first victory at the Lady in Black, without his Crew Chief.
Despite his team’s troubles with their illegal engine part which cost them 12 points and one race without Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff, this team has been flawless. Take away Kenseth’s two worst finishes this season, one due to an engine and the other due to a wreck, he has finished outside the top-10 twice; the lowest being 14th. Could he be a contender for the Sprint Cup Series Championship?
Jimmie Johnson may be leading the current points standing by a full race, but don’t think that lead will be there for long. Kenseth is sitting third in standings, 59 points behind Jimmie Johnson and just 15 behind second place Carl Edwards. If Kenseth continues on the path that he is on, he could very well be on top of the point’s standings before you know it.
Kenseth’s biggest competition this season will be Johnson. Johnson, after barely missing out on the Championship last season, is out to prove he still has it and has been stronger than ever this season. If Kenseth and his team keep doing what they have been doing and continue to build on their chemistry, they will be well on their way to keeping Johnson from his sixth Championship.