Skip to content

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

Nov 14, 2013, 6:20 PM EST

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. Leavine Family Racing: There may be no ‘I’ in team, but there’s a lot of family in it

    Jan 28, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Michael McDowell is looking for an even better season in 2015 as he enters his second year with Leavine Family Racing. Getty Images

    While a small, one-car team that makes just over half the races of the season, there’s a lot of heart and motivation in the family oriented Leavine Family Racing team.

  2. NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson recovering from mild stroke

    Jan 28, 2015, 3:06 PM EST

    Brandon Davis, David Pearson Brandon Davis, David Pearson

    A family release issued Wednesday through NASCAR’s communications department said Pearson suffered the stroke Dec. 9 “but is doing great and well on the road to recovery.”

  3. Brian Barnhart returns as IndyCar’s new race director

    Jan 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    BarnhartGetty Getty Images

    Former IndyCar race director Brian Barnhart will return to his old role for 2015.

  4. NASCAR: Wood Bros. plan expanded 18-race Cup schedule for Ryan Blaney

    Jan 28, 2015, 2:45 PM EST

    Ford EcoBoost 200 Getty Images

    Six more events “tentatively” added to the Wood Brothers’ 65th anniversary season.

  5. LeBron James’ agent involved in Darrell Wallace Jr.’s hunt for sponsorship

    Jan 28, 2015, 2:31 PM EST

    LeBron James LeBron James

    Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark said the team set up a meeting for Wallace with Maverick Carter, the agent who oversees much of James’ business empire.

  6. Richard Petty Motorsports seeks sponsorship for 26 races for Hornish

    Jan 28, 2015, 1:12 PM EST

    Sam Hornish Jr Sam Hornish Jr

    Richard Petty Motorsports seeks sponsorship for 26 races for Sam Hornish Jr.’s team this season.

  7. F1: Red Bull’s Horner confident that RB11 will be ready for Jerez test (VIDEO)

    Jan 28, 2015, 1:02 PM EST

    Christian Horner AP

    Horner also speaks with NBCSN’s Will Buxton about efforts from the team’s engine manufacturer, Renault, to ensure a much smoother start to 2015.

  8. F1: Force India will skip first preseason test in Jerez

    Jan 28, 2015, 12:33 PM EST

    Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg AP

    Force India opts to concentrate on getting its new 2015 car ready for the second preseason test at Barcelona.

  9. Hornish fitting in quite well with Richard Petty Motorsports

    Jan 28, 2015, 12:15 PM EST

    hornish AP

    Sam Hornish is fitting in quite nicely in his new role with Richard Petty Motorsports.

  10. After 2014 Chase berth, Aric Almirola expects “breakout year” for Richard Petty Motorsports

    Jan 28, 2015, 11:56 AM EST

    Oral-B USA 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Last year’s July winner at Daytona thinks RPM’s momentum will continue to grow in 2015.

  11. Sponsorship woes leave Jeb Burton scrambling again for a NASCAR ride

    Jan 28, 2015, 11:46 AM EST

    Fred's 250 - Practice Fred's 250 - Practice

    A deal to return to a ThorSport Toyota has fallen through for the son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton.

  12. NASCAR: Ross Chastain moving up to XFINITY Series with JD Motorsports

    Jan 28, 2015, 11:27 AM EST

    NextEra Energy Resources 250 - Practice Getty Images

    Chastain will have support from the National Watermelon Association on his No. 4 Chevrolet Camaro.

  13. Roush Fenway Racing continues to look for sponsorship for Wallace

    Jan 28, 2015, 11:11 AM EST

    Bubba Wallace Bubba Wallace

    Roush Fenway Racing continues to look for sponsorship for Darrell Wallace Jr., but Wallace says he plans to run the full XFINITY season.

  14. Roush Fenway Racing looks for big rebound in 2015

    Jan 28, 2015, 11:04 AM EST

    jack roush 2015 AP

    Although there were a number of changes at Roush Fenway Racing, team co-owner Jack Roush believes things are on the right track for a big collective comeback from RFR in 2015.

  15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. channels Marshawn Lynch: ‘I’m just here so I won’t get fined’

    Jan 28, 2015, 10:06 AM EST

    Stenhouse Phoenix 2 2014 Getty Images

    Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tried to channel his inner Marshawn Lynch during Roush Fenway Racing’s segment of the NASCAR Media Tour on Wednesday.

  16. Tony Stewart buys All-Star Circuit of Champions sprint car series

    Jan 28, 2015, 10:05 AM EST

    Hollywood Casino 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Stewart takes control of one of the country’s oldest sprint car leagues.

  17. NASCAR: Outcry causes GoDaddy to pull Super Bowl ad featuring Danica Patrick, puppy

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:41 PM EST

    Aaron's 312 Getty Images

    Negative backlash following ad’s premiere on Tuesday’s “Today” show leads to GoDaddy pulling it from Sunday’s big game.

  18. Indy Lights: Ed Jones leads Day 2 of Homestead road course test

    Jan 27, 2015, 8:55 PM EST

    Credit: IndyLights.com Credit: IndyLights.com

    The Lights contingent finish their two-day session on the Homestead road course before heading to the oval on Thursday.

  19. Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick: “I’m as comfortable as I’ve ever been”

    Jan 27, 2015, 7:12 PM EST

    (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Getty Images

    Following a dramatic Sprint Cup title victory in 2014, Harvick enters 2015 with less pressure – but not less motivated to continue his success.

Video from NASCAR America

Why 2015 is a big year for Danica
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (2257)
  2. J. Clements (1732)
  3. K. Schrader (1725)
  4. K. Grala (1608)
  5. M. Lira (1525)