The 2013 season was arguably the best season of Matt Kenseth’s career. Seven wins, 12 top-fives and 20 top-10s, very impressive stats by anyone’s standards. He also came up just short of a championship, finishing second to six-time series champion, Jimmie Johnson. Victory lane eluded him again Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600, finishing third, behind Johnson, and Kevin Harvick.
Kenseth once again looked strong, leading 33 laps, many of those coming near the end of the race. He could not, however, hold off a hard charging, determined Jimmie Johnson. Harvick also made his way around the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the closing laps.
With such a fantastic season last year, Kenseth was expected to come out of the box in 2014 just as strong. So far, he hasn’t quite made it. At this point last season, Kenseth had already visited victory lane three times. This season he has nine top-10s, but no wins.
Given Kenseth’s strong performance last year, the media are constantly asking what the problem is this season. After the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, Kenseth again addressed those questions saying, “I feel like we’re gaining on it. I thought today all things being equal and nobody having trouble that we had at least a fifth-place car so we’re gaining on it. We’re not where we were last year yet, but I feel like certainly we’re gaining on it. Typically, this has been one of our best places and I was hoping we were going to be able to sneak up on a win there. We are just a little bit off and just need to get it a little better somehow.”
Even without a win, Kenseth is still a very impressive second place in the series points standings, so don’t count him out yet. Though the new points system awards winning instead of consistency, Kenseth’s consistency will eventually land him in victory lane. He will be in the Chase; he is running too strong to not be.