Skip to content

Kenseth: Johnson could run 28th “with three wheels”

Nov 14, 2013, 6:20 PM EDT

AAA Texas 500 - Practice Getty Images

Matt Kenseth minced no words when describing how easy it could be for Jimmie Johnson to finish 28th, at a bare minimum, in Sunday’s Ford Ecoboost 400.

“Obviously we’re not going to make up the deficit on performance.  I think Jimmie could run 28th through the grass or with three wheels on,” he joked during today’s media conference at Homestead.

“He’s going to have to have a mechanical problem or crash to make something happen.  We’ll have to be up in the top five to hold on to second or to overtake Jimmie if he has a problem.”

Indeed Kenseth lost any edge he had last week at Phoenix, while Johnson’s third place has put him in a very strong position to clinch his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship this weekend.

Kenseth appears more focused on holding onto second in points over Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick. Harvick is among a handful of drivers making their final starts with their respective teams this weekend; he signs off his seat at Richard Childress Racing.

“We have to outrun Kevin to maintain second,” Kenseth said. “If Jimmie does have a problem, he’s so far ahead, the problem needs to be fairly severe.  If it is, you need to be pretty far toward the front because hypothetically he could have a problem, if Kevin and I are running around 12th and 13th, Jimmie could still win. We have to go out with the idea of trying to win the race, lead laps, be in the front group, trying to get the best finish we can.”

Harvick, meanwhile, has the opportunity for his best ever finish in the championship after several third place finishes.

“I feel like we as a team have done better than what we’ve done in the past as far as the Chase goes with winning, which is what we felt like we needed to win a race or two in the Chase,” he said. “We knew going in we couldn’t make any mistakes because you’re racing against guys that have had a great year, are capable of winning every week.  So we knew when we left Loudon that we had made a big mistake.  That’s just the way it goes.  You just have to race every week.  We’ve had a good Chase.”

The battle for second may not be as “sexy” as the one for the championship, but it is the more likely one to play out on Sunday.

But hey, maybe Kenseth’s prognostication comes to fruition and Johnson drives a tricycle for a lap or two. It would certainly spice things up.

Latest Posts
  1. NHRA: All you need to know about the 61st U.S. Nationals

    Sep 3, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    u.s. nationals logo

    Here’s all the information you need to know about this weekend’s 61st annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis:

  2. NHRA: Year’s biggest race, the U.S. Nationals, ready to roll

    Sep 3, 2015, 6:54 PM EDT

    nhra logo

    The biggest and most important drag race of the season takes place this weekend with the 61st Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis.

  3. GP3 unveils new car for 2016 season at Monza

    Sep 3, 2015, 3:27 PM EDT

    © GP3 Series © GP3 Series

    The GP3/16 breaks cover at Monza ahead of its introduction next year.

  4. Mercedes uses remaining development tokens to upgrade power units

    Sep 3, 2015, 2:39 PM EDT

    A track marshal waves the checkered flag as Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton crosses the finish line to win the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday Aug. 23, 2015. (Andrej Isakovic/Pool photo via AP) AP

    Mercedes goes all-in ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, fully upgrading the power units on both of its cars.

  5. FOM satisfied Pirelli not to blame for Spa tire failures

    Sep 3, 2015, 1:23 PM EDT

    A Ferrari technician works on tires outside the Ferrari pits at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy , Thursday, Sept. 3 , 2015. ormula One tire supplier Pirelli blamed debris on the track and prolonged usage for a "highly unusual number of cuts" at the Belgian Grand Prix, which was marred by frightening tire deterioration on the cars of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg. The Formula one race will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno) AP

    FOM comes out in support of “first class partner” Pirelli.

  6. F1 2015’s silly season is proving to be a let down, but who could yet spice it up?

    Sep 3, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 23, 2015 in Spa, Belgium. Getty Images

    Silly season has been a let down in 2015. Perhaps it is therefore fitting that McLaren is now the team to watch in the driver market.

  7. Lewis Hamilton’s blonde hair brings back memories of when Villeneuve, Vettel also did so

    Sep 3, 2015, 12:13 PM EDT

    LewisBlonde AP

    Hamilton goes blonde for Monza. He’s not alone in F1 annals.

  8. Perez keen to remain at Force India for 2016 season

    Sep 3, 2015, 11:15 AM EDT

    BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 26:  Sergio Perez of Mexico and Force India walks in the paddock before the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Perez expects to confirm his plans for 2016 in the next two weeks.

  9. Pirelli: Debris to blame for Belgian GP tire failures

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    A Williams technician walks over Pirelli tires at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy , Thursday, Sept. 3 , 2015.  Formula One tire supplier Pirelli blamed debris on the track and prolonged usage for a "highly unusual number of cuts" at the Belgian Grand Prix, which was marred by frightening tire deterioration on the cars of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg. The Formula one race will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) AP

    Debris, not structural problems, to blame for tire failures at Spa.

  10. MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Italian Grand Prix

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 07:  Felipe Massa of Brazil and Williams celebrates his thrd place during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 7, 2014 in Monza, Italy.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Luke Smith and Tony DiZinno make their picks ahead of this weekend’s race at Monza.

  11. 2015 Italian Grand Prix Preview

    Sep 3, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Fans wave with a giant Ferrari flag after the Italian Formula One Grand Prix motor race at the Autodromo Nazionale circuit in Monza on September 7, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN        (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The European season comes to a close at Monza this weekend. Can Lewis Hamilton enter the final run of flyaways with an even bigger lead?

  12. James Hinchcliffe on the comeback trail for IndyCar driving return

    Sep 3, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    HinchComeback AP

    James Hinchcliffe a few weeks away from his driving return.

  13. Bottas and Massa to remain with Williams for 2016

    Sep 3, 2015, 5:38 AM EDT

    NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Felipe Massa of Brazil and Williams drives ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 5, 2015 in Northampton, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Williams confirms an unchanged line-up for 2016, keeping Bottas and Massa together for a third season.

  14. Mardenborough set for GP2 debut at Monza with Carlin this weekend

    Sep 2, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT

    Photo: NISMO Photo: NISMO

    Jann Mardenborough steps up from GP3 into GP2 this weekend.

  15. James Hinchcliffe describes how inspired he was by Justin Wilson

    Sep 2, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    Hinchjw AP

    Hinchcliffe recalls racing, commentating on Justin Wilson.

  16. NHRA: Leah Pritchett climbing mountains as she continues to grow career

    Sep 2, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT

    All Photos: Gumout/Dote Racing All Photos: Gumout/Dote Racing

    Leah Pritchett looks to make her mark even more in NHRA Top Fuel, going into U.S. Nationals.

  17. Dixon: “I don’t think anybody had a stellar season”

    Sep 2, 2015, 11:22 AM EDT

    DixonJPM AP

    Dixon offers a rebuttal to Montoya’s dig about a “poor” season.