Lame-duck drivers are in a strange position: obviously they and their team want to win a championship, but there's that sense that this is all coming to a close very soon always looming. Matt Kenseth is, obviously, headed to the No. 20 over at Joe Gibbs Racing, but he'll do his best to bring one more Cup championship to Roush Fenway Racing.
Can he do it? Of course he can, he's in the Chase. Will he? That's a tougher order. He's only got one top 5 finish in the last five races, down from seven in the last 20 races. He's riding a 9th and a 5th place finish in the last two races, but before that he'd had trouble maintaining his previously series-leading run.
Bottom line: Kenseth and his team are pros, and they'll do all they can to bring home a Cup for Jack Roush. But they've got to be at their very best over the next 10 weeks, and that means screening out any and all distractions of what they'll be doing the day after Homestead.
Best Chase track: Texas, where he has an average finish of 8.6. Since 2005, he's only had two finishes outside the top 10. His last four finishes? 2, 1, 4, 5. That's not bad, and Texas hits in the perfect point in the schedule for Kenseth to keep himself in the mix.
Worst Chase track: Talladega, where his average finish of 18.6 is, well, not so good. Obviously, that's Talladega, where everyone has troubles. And its earlier slot in the Chase means there's time to get past any weak performances.
JB's take: Kenseth has had another long, slow slide from the top of the heap this season, and while he was a constant threat early in the year, he doesn't inspire the same sort of confidence now that he might have back in the springtime. Staying close to the top isn't good enough in the Chase; you need to be able to win at any time. Kenseth will get in the top 10, but he won't be a factor come Homestead.