Skip to content

Winless thus far in 2014, Matt Kenseth looks to repeat last year’s victory at Darlington this Saturday

Apr 10, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

Kenseth won last year's Sprint Cup race at Darlington and hopes to make it two in a row in this Saturday's Bojangles' Southern 500 there. AP

At this time last year, Matt Kenseth already had two wins in his back pocket, en route to a Sprint Cup Series-leading seven wins in the entire 2013 season.

But seven races into 2014 and Kenseth is still an oh-fer in the wins column.

He’s hoping to change that in Saturday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

And he has reason for optimism: he is the defending winner of last year’s race there, finally breaking through after 19 tries of coming up short against the fabled “track too tough to tame.”

“I always feel like the Southern 500 is one of the biggest races of the year — certainly it was right up there towards the top of my list of tracks I wanted to win at that I never won at before last year,” Kenseth said in his weekly media release. “It was a really big win. It was exciting and it didn’t look like we were going to win. Kyle (Busch) had that problem late and we were able to sneak by him there with 10 (laps) to go or something like that. It was a big week for us and it was really, really cool to be able to finally win the Southern 500, for sure.”

“(It’s) certainly one of the most historic (races). … To be able to win here in any kind of race, any kind of car, any conditions and certainly the Southern 500 is, I think, special. I think you could ask anybody and that’s one that they would tell you that.”

This year’s race was changed from what had been a relatively new tradition – on Mother’s Day weekend – to mid-April.

“It doesn’t change how you’re going to drive it at all,” Kenseth said. “Conditions are a little hard to predict just because we only come here once a year — I don’t think anybody really tests or anything.

“With the weather forecast being decent, I can’t really remember the weather last May, but it’s supposed to be pretty warm the next couple days so I think that’s good. I think that will be good for the fans and I think that will probably be good for the racing and everything too. It’s not going to be too terribly cold at night.”

Like Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and others, Kenseth is one of several of Sprint Cup’s highest-profile drivers that still hasn’t won a race in 2014.

“I can’t say I’m totally shocked,” Kenseth said when asked about how there have been seven different winners in as many races to start the Cup season. “I think whenever you throw a pretty big rules change at everybody, some people are going to pick up on it sooner than others.

“I think it always spreads the field out a little bit because some guys are going to hit it and some guys are going to miss it, and I think that always creates passing and mixes the field up and makes the racing more interesting in my mind. I think that everybody every week is probably gaining on it and the field is going to get closer together as we keep rolling through the year here.

“It’s been interesting because there’s been a lot of different winners and been some guys that have won a lot that haven’t won yet.  It’s been an interesting year for sure.”

Ironically, in a season where the revamped Chase for the Sprint Cup format is predicted on wins, the top two leaders in the standings this week are drivers who have yet to win a race this season: Gordon and Kenseth.

“You just don’t really know how it’s going to turn out,” Kenseth said. “Is there going to be 10 winners?  Is there going to be 20 winners? I don’t know, the way it’s going. How important are your points going to be? I would think, history suggests that there’s going to be a few guys added by points that didn’t win. Certainly if that’s the case and you haven’t won yet, then the point standings are very important. Come September, you don’t really know how important they’re going to be.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Latest Posts
  1. Keselowski: Stewart/Ward case being sent to grand jury “feels like a little bit of a cop out”

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:13 PM EDT

    MyAfibStory.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Keselowski’s comments today at New Hampshire seem odd considering what he said just days after the Aug. 9 tragedy in upstate New York.

  2. NASCAR: RCR, Roush teams looking strong in NNS practice at Kentucky

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Kentucky Speedway - Day 1 Getty Images

    Chris Buescher (RFR), Cale Conley (RCR) shine for these teams.

  3. NASCAR: Matt Crafton, Cole Custer top Truck Practice 2 and 3 at Loudon

    Sep 19, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

    UNOH 175 - Practice Getty Images

    Crafton hopes to build up his slim lead in the Camping World Truck Series championship with a strong outing in tomorrow’s UNOH 175.

  4. Kenzie Ruston on right track to follow Danica Patrick’s road to racing success

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT

    Kenzie Ruston (Photo courtesy GoKenzie.com) Kenzie Ruston (Photo courtesy GoKenzie.com)

    Kenzie Ruston can relate so well to NASCAR star Danica Patrick. Just like when Patrick was working her way up through the racing ranks early on in her own career, Ruston has also had to outwork other male drivers for virtually everything she’s achieved up to now.

  5. Brad Keselowski wins pole for Sunday’s Chase race at New Hampshire

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:03 PM EDT

    NASCAR New Hampshire Auto Racing AP

    Keselowski sets a new track record at New Hampshire in earning his fifth Sprint Cup pole of 2014.

  6. Red Bull GRC: Checking in with Foust, Dyne leading into LA double (VIDEO)

    Sep 19, 2014, 5:37 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    Pre-race videos with Austin Dyne and Tanner Foust before Red Bull GRC doubleheader in LA.

  7. Jeff Gordon: We can beat Keselowski this weekend

    Sep 19, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Sylvania 300 - Practice Getty Images

    A win from Gordon on Sunday would give New Hampshire its record-setting 14th different winner in as many races.

  8. F1 Friday Analysis: Is Lewis the man to beat?

    Sep 19, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice Getty Images

    We crunch the numbers to see who is really ahead at Mercedes in Singapore after Friday practice.

  9. A name you’ll be hearing a lot more of in NASCAR: racing phenom Ben Rhodes

    Sep 19, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Ben Rhodes (Photo: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Kyle Busch. Joey Logano. Kyle Larson. You may soon add Ben Rhodes to the list of young phenom drivers that have gone on to stardom in the Sprint Cup Series.

  10. Jimmie Johnson still looking for return to commanding form

    Sep 19, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Sylvania 300 - Practice Getty Images

    “…We’re looking for just that little sliver of speed to get back to a dominant position.” – Johnson

  11. Hamilton: Friday a “work in progress” for Mercedes

    Sep 19, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice Getty Images

    Finishing P1 not enough for the Briton following his Friday running in Singapore.

  12. Kyle Larson: I’m “really close” to first Sprint Cup victory

    Sep 19, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    MyAfibStory.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    “I hope it’s before the end of this year, but if not, we won’t be too disappointed. We’ve been running well all season long.” – Larson

  13. Vettel upbeat despite engine troubles in Singapore

    Sep 19, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    German driver rallies to finish in the top five in both sessions despite an engine failure.

  14. Brad Keselowski tops Friday Sprint Cup practice at N.H.

    Sep 19, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Sylvania 300 - Practice Getty Images

    Already in the Contender Round for the Chase, Keselowski gets his weekend at New Hampshire off to a good start.

  15. Red flag limits Rosberg to P13 in second Singapore practice

    Sep 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Nico Rosberg AP

    German driver feeling comfortable ahead of qualifying in Singapore tomorrow.

  16. Firestone IndyCar test next week to feature Castroneves, RHR, Carpenter, Pagenaud

    Sep 19, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT

    Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    IndyCars get their first postseason running with Firestone tire test next week.

  17. VIDEO: Maldonado’s FP2 ends in the wall at Singapore

    Sep 19, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Pastor Maldonado AP

    Not what the Venezuelan would have planned heading into his Friday programme at Marina Bay.

  18. NASCAR: Erik Jones fastest in first of three Truck practices today at Loudon

    Sep 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    (Photo: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Returning to Kyle Busch’s No. 51 Truck, the 17-year-old Jones is making his first appearance this weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  19. F1’s double points rule to be axed for 2015?

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Race Getty Images

    One of the most controversial F1 rulings in history could be scrapped after just one season.

  20. Hamilton tops FP2 as night falls in Singapore

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    A red flag for Pastor Maldonado stops Nico Rosberg from posting a quick lap time, forcing him to settle for P12 at the finish.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (1808)
  2. K. Busch (1709)
  3. K. Harvick (1495)
  4. J. Gordon (1453)
  5. D. Mayhew (1390)