Matt Kenseth is winless.
Through seven Sprint Cup Series races, it's hardly a shocking statement. Jimmie Johnson is winless too. So is Tony Stewart. And Jeff Gordon. Kasey Kahne, too. But with seven different winners in the first seven Sprint Cup Series races, it may be jarring to some to see Kenseth's name not on the list after he won seven races last year.
However, when you look through the list of seven winners, there aren't any surprises. It's not like someone has jumped up and snagged an unexpected win or two unless you thought Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in the midst of another four-year winless streak.
Kenseth isn't surprised either.
“I can’t say I’m totally shocked, I think whenever you throw a pretty big rules change at everybody some people are going to pick up on it sooner than others," he said Thursday. "I think it always spreads the field out a little bit because some guys are going to hit it and some guys are going to miss it and I think that always creates passing and mixes the field up and makes the racing more interesting in my mind. I think that everybody every week is probably gaining on it and the field is going to get closer together as we keep rolling through the year here. It’s been interesting because there’s been a lot of different winners and been some guys that have won a lot that haven’t won yet.”
He won last year's race at Darlington after taking the lead after a late restart. It was his third win of the year, though Darlington was the 11th race of the season in 2013 and not the eighth.
Even as he's winless this season, he's higher in the points standings now than he was at this point a year ago. However, Kenseth said he isn't staring at the standings. It's more of a quick look.
"I don’t know about close attention, you always kind of know where you’re at once the week is over you maybe glance at the standings," Kenseth said. "They always park in order of points so when you show up parked the next week you kind of know where you’re at. That really hasn’t changed. I don’t know I think maybe when you get closer to the 26 cutoff then you probably study it a little more and see where everybody is and who’s in and who’s out and that kind of thing."
And based on past history in Chase seasons, a winless driver or two or three is likely to make the Chase anyway. If Kenseth keeps this pace up, he'll likely be just fine when it comes to September.
"Is there going to be 10 winners? Is there going to be 20 winners? I don’t know – the way it’s going. How important are your points going to be?" Kenseth asked. "I would think, history suggests that there’s going to be a few guys added by points that didn’t win."
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