Mar 7, 2014, 4:55 PM EST
There’s no doubt that winning has taken on a whole new sense of importance this year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as claiming a regular season win now virtually ensures your place in the Chase.
But there is one driver that apparently isn’t feeling the need to punch his Chase ticket ASAP, and that’s Matt Kenseth.
Returning to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend as the defending champion of the Kobalt Tools 400, Kenseth said this morning that the post-season has been the farthest thing from his mind so far.
“Man, we’re talking about the Chase already,” the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said. “It’s the first week in March. I have put almost zero thought into the Chase. It’s so early in the season I’ve really been focused on the new procedures for qualifying, the new no ride height rule – try to get a feel for that. Try to get a feel for changes – the new aero rules.
“Honestly, at this point in the year, I could care less about the Chase. I would really like to win a race so you feel like you’re qualified and then I think we got six months of racing to do before we got to worry about that. I think it’s probably a little bit early. For me, I haven’t thought about it. Maybe other people have, I just haven’t.”
As for where Kenseth’s mind is focused, the Wisconsin native said it was hard to tell where JGR’s intermediate track program was at this point with the new rules package.
Kenseth was the fastest of the three JGR drivers in yesterday’s test session at Vegas, in which he was 10th on the time sheets. But he figures that by the time the series leaves Auto Club Speedway later this month, he’ll have a better gauge on where his team stands.
“I feel like when you get back from California, you kind of have a pretty good idea where you stack up compared to your competition cause you’ve been on a superspeedway [Daytona], you’ve been on a flat mile [Phoenix], and you’ve been at an intermediate like this [Vegas]. Bristol’s a short track and then, a real wore-out pavement type track like California,” he said.
“You kind of get an idea where you are and where you need to improve.”
- Barcelona F1 2nd Test Paddock Notebook – Thursday 0
- Massa fastest for Williams as final F1 pre-season test begins 5
- Ron Dennis clears up Alonso crash rumors; confirms he was briefly knocked unconscious but was not concussed 3
- McLaren confirms Alonso leaves hospital, and is out for final test 0
- Manor targets Melbourne appearance; announces Will Stevens as first driver 2
- Iconic F1 designer Gerard Ducarouge dies at 73 1
- F1: Barcelona 2015 first test cumulative times, lap counts, analysis 0