Kenseth Needs More Than Consistency In Sophomore Season

TALLADEGA, AL - MAY 02:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, walks through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

TALLADEGA, AL – MAY 02: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, walks through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The move to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013 without question paid off for Cambridge Wisconsin’s Matt Kenseth.

After 15 seasons at Roush Fenway Racing, the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion fell perfectly into place behind the wheel of the No. 20 Dollar General / Home Depot Toyota Camry. Three poles, seven wins, 12 top-fives and 20 top-10 runs en-route to a competitive third place finish in the championship standings left a lasting impression heading into his sophomore season.

But, in a year where winning has never been more important, a repeat dominance from Kenseth and crew chief Jason Ratcliff has yet to materialize. While the duo has shown serious consistency through the first nine races of 2014, Kenseth’s season-best finish of fourth twice, not to mention an absence from victory Lane, has left him an outsider looking in.

“I know it’s not always the popular answer, but I still stand by that I just don’t think it changes the racing,” said Kenseth when referring to the impact of winning. “I don’t think it changes the winners, I just think it changes the reward you get for winning.  All these races are really big races and everybody wants to win them.  I don’t see anybody showing up in May and being like, ‘Man, I hope I run 10th today.’  Everybody goes out and does everything they can to win these races each and every week no matter what the reward is and no matter what it pays, points or any of that stuff.  They’re all big races and everybody shows up every week to try to win.”

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