Matt Kenseth makes it two wins in a row in the Chase; is ‘the team to beat right now’
By Rick Minter
After two of the 10 Chase races, Matt Kenseth is batting a thousand and headed to some of his better tracks — two factors that add up to him being a clear championship favorite at this point.
“If Kenseth keeps doing what he’s doing, it’s not going to matter what anybody else does,” Jeff Gordon said after Kenseth rolled to his career-best seventh win of the season and second in a row. “Now we’re going to Dover and that’s a great track for him. So, yeah, they’re definitely the team to beat right now.”
For Kenseth, who got his 31st career win in his 500th start and did it at a track where he’d never won and has an average finish of 13.4, his dominant run on Sunday on top of a similar performance in the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway doesn’t appear to have changed his approach.
“I know it’s kind of cliche, but it really is one week at a time, especially right now,” he said. “If you get down toward the end [of the season] and you’re lucky enough to have a lead or something, maybe you start looking at that more or thinking about it more. But man, two whole months and eight weeks of racing is a lot of racing, and in this system, one bad finish and you’re behind.”
But he also acknowledged that he’s got some of his best tracks coming up on the schedule, including Kansas Speedway, where he’s won the two most recent races.
“[I] certainly have a lot of confidence in the next three tracks coming up, for sure,” he said of Dover International Speedway, Kansas and Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he has a total of six career wins. “In the past, they’ve been good tracks for us. I felt like we were real strong at Dover in the spring. And certainly Kansas has been good for us, although we are going there with a different tire, so that might change things up a little bit.
“And Charlotte, the [Coca-Cola] 600 was good, as well.”
Also in Kenseth’s favor is the fact that his closest competitor, Kyle Busch, is also his teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing.
“Man, what a terrible problem to have, huh?” Kenseth joked.