Skip to content

Matt Kenseth: “I have put almost zero thought into the Chase”

Mar 7, 2014, 4:55 PM EDT

Daytona 500 - Practice Getty Images

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.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick have just about locked themselves into the post-season and their teams are now free to go ahead with different race strategies without having to worry too much.

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.”

Latest Posts
  1. Montoya’s evolution evident after statement victory in St. Pete

    Mar 29, 2015, 8:40 PM EDT

    JPMSTPwin2 AP

    The year-on-year evolution of JPM showcases a driver still getting even better.

  2. Jeans and Ice Cream: Will Power’s brother live tweets IndyCar season opener

    Mar 29, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    Will Power, Will Power,

    Will Power’s brother brings the jokes while live tweeting Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

  3. Power dominates another St. Pete race from pole, but reflective post-race

    Mar 29, 2015, 7:53 PM EDT

    WillSTPwin AP

    Close but no cigar, but still a very good day for Will Power in the IndyCar opener at St. Petersburg.

  4. IndyCar: Tony Kanaan breaks up Penske’s quartet with third place finish

    Mar 29, 2015, 7:27 PM EDT

    Tony Kanaan Tony Kanaan

    Tony Kanaan earns second podium in a row while thwarting potential sweep by Penske.

  5. Montoya ekes out win in St. Petersburg season opener

    Mar 29, 2015, 5:57 PM EDT

    JPMSTPwin AP

    Juan Pablo Montoya emerges up front after beating teammate Will Power on pit stops, and then holds off a final challenge.

  6. Will Power, debris dominate halfway through Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

    Mar 29, 2015, 5:14 PM EDT

    Will Power, Will Power,

    Will Power led a caution filled Grand Prix of St. Petersburg after 55 laps.

  7. Indy Lights: Ed Jones doubles up in St. Petersburg

    Mar 29, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT

    Photo: Indy Lights Photo: Indy Lights

    Ed Jones wins again in St. Petersburg, to complete an Indy Lights weekend sweep.

  8. What to watch for: IndyCar at St. Petersburg

    Mar 29, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    W2W4stp AP

    IndyCar is racing today, at long last. Here’s what to watch for.

  9. Malaysian Grand Prix signs three-year contract extension

    Mar 29, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia Getty Images

    F1 will continue to visit the Sepang International Circuit until 2018 after a deal was signed on Sunday.

  10. Rahal leads St. Petersburg afternoon warmup

    Mar 29, 2015, 12:52 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Graham Rahal breaks up the Penske juggernaut and leads IndyCar warmup at St. Petersburg.

  11. McLaren upbeat in spite of double retirement in Malaysia

    Mar 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Alonso and Button both sidelined by problems with the Honda power unit in Malaysia.

  12. Perez, Hulkenberg and Maldonado hit with penalty points

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Hulkenberg 293 Getty Images

    All three drivers sanctioned by the stewards for misdemeanors in today’s race.

  13. Ricciardo felt helpless en route to P10 finish in Malaysia

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Ricciardo 293 Getty Images

    Red Bull endures a miserable day in Malaysia, scoring just three points in total.

  14. Manor thrilled as Roberto Merhi finishes Malaysian GP

    Mar 29, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Practice Getty Images

    Simply finishing the race must go down as an incredible achievement for Manor.

  15. Confusion and strategy error costs Hamilton shot at race win (VIDEO)

    Mar 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Hamilton 293d Getty Images

    Did a mistake in Q1 on Saturday cost Lewis Hamilton a chance to win the Malaysian Grand Prix?

  16. Verstappen becomes youngest points scorer in F1 history

    Mar 29, 2015, 7:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia Getty Images

    Breaking the record by over two years, Max Verstappen cemented his place in the F1 history books in Malaysia on Sunday.

  17. Arrivabene: Ferrari is back, but must keep focused (VIDEO)

    Mar 29, 2015, 6:30 AM EDT

    Sebastian Vettel AP

    Ferrari team principal oversees his first victory since taking the helm at Maranello.

  18. Rosberg tells Ferrari “game on!” after Vettel’s Malaysia win (VIDEO)

    Mar 29, 2015, 5:56 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia Getty Images

    German driver didn’t expect his challenge to Ferrari in Australia to be taken up so quickly.

  19. Hamilton: Ferrari simply too fast for Mercedes in Malaysia

    Mar 29, 2015, 5:36 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    British driver humble in defeat after losing out to Vettel and Ferrari in Malaysia.

  20. Emotional Vettel revels in first victory for Ferrari

    Mar 29, 2015, 5:19 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1-PODIUM Getty Images

    German driver claims a superb win in Malaysia in just his second race for Ferrari.