Considered as “Mr. Consistency”, Matt Kenseth needs to keep doing what he’s doing – with a couple tweaks – to be successful in 2015.
Looking back at 2014
Last season, Matt Kenseth was his usual consistent, fast self during the first 26 races of the season, highlighted by a victory at Auto Club Speedway. It seemed as though the success that carried him to finish second in 2013 carried over as the No. 20 Dollar General/Home Depot Team looked solid heading into the Chase.
The Chase, though, didn’t go as planned. A finish of 25th at Texas Motor Speedway ended Kenseth’s chances at a championship, despite having fought back from other issues throughout the races. Did we mention that he also tackled Brad Keselowski at Charlotte Motor Speedway a couple weeks earlier? Certainly the Chase pushed drivers to their limits, as witnessed by Kenseth’s actions. However, with Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon also spewing anger towards Keselowski, perhaps the move out of character for Kenseth was understood.
Looking ahead to 2015
Partnered once again with Jason Ratcliff, it seems as though the outlook for Kenseth is simple. Being consistent and up front on a weekly basis is what gets you wins, and qualifies you for championship contention. Kenseth knows how to do that well, and certainly continuing that trend will be key for 2015. Joe Gibbs Racing has shown the speed in their cars to allow that, but it will depend also how quickly the organization raps their heads around the new rule package. There have been times before that a new package is debuted and JGR struggles to get a good grasp on it. If they can right out of the box, though, it will mark a good way to start pulling in the success.
The other factor is Kenseth and his actions. We’ve seen it before where drivers get wrapped up in the off-track shenanigans that their on-track performance goes down the drain. Rather than worry about others, Kenseth needs to get back to the driver he was and focus on his own self and his game. It worked before so why try to change the tide?