May 26, 2014, 12:26 AM EDT
If there’s anything to the law of averages, Matt Kenseth is next in line to win his first Sprint Cup race of 2014.
Points leader Jeff Gordon won his first race of the season two weeks ago at Kansas.
Sunday night, Jimmie Johnson won his first of the season in the longest and most grueling race on the Cup schedule, the 400-lap Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
That leaves Kenseth as the only driver in the top 7 in the Cup standings that has yet to reach victory lane in 2014, an oddity for sure given that Kenseth led the entire series with a high of seven wins in 2013.
It’s not like Kenseth didn’t try Sunday night. He was in the lead and even tried to throw a block to keep Johnson from passing him in the closing laps.
Unfortunately for Kenseth, Johnson avoided his block and sailed on to victory lane, leaving Kenseth to fall to an eventual third-place finish, right behind runner-up Kevin Harvick.
“I mean, everything kind of fell into place with us with that (final) caution, people being under fuel strategy,” Kenseth said. “Our tire problem, all that, getting off sequence. Everything fell into our lap.
“We got a good restart, got out front. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough speed to hold off Jimmie and Kevin and hang on to win.”
The biggest difference between Harvick and Kenseth is Harvick called out his team for falling short due to a loose wheel.
Kenseth was more the gentleman in his synopsis of how his run went.
“Overall for the weekend, I thought it was a step in the right direction,” Kenseth said of getting closer to his first win of the season. “I thought we were more competitive tonight.
“I didn’t think we were quick enough to win unless everything fell exactly our way. Even then I couldn’t quite hang on.
“Overall … I thought we had a top-five car all night. Great pit stops, great adjustments. Just couldn’t hang on to it at the end.”
End result, another frustrating finish of sorts, particularly considering Kenseth now has four top 5 and five other top 10 finishes thus far this season (nine top 10s overall).
Whereas Harvick blamed his crew for his runner-up finish due to a loose wheel and pit stop errors, Kenseth took a more even-handed approach in his response.
“Me personally, whenever your team does everything, everything falls the right way, they put you out in the front at the end of the race, you don’t win the race, you’re always frustrated and disappointed,” Kenseth said. “You don’t get a lot of those opportunities.
“Although I felt like I did everything I could possibly do, we just weren’t quick enough to hold ‘em off. So, yeah, I’m a little frustrated we didn’t get the win tonight.”
But at the same time, Kenseth feels he indeed could join Gordon, Johnson in the winner’s club next Sunday at Dover.
“I feel like we’re gaining on it,” Kenseth said. “Certainly, we’re not where we were at this time last year, all of us there leading a bunch of laps and being in contention to win.
“Panicking has never helped anything. Like I said, I feel like we’re gaining on it. We’ve just been off a little bit all year. … We’re digging hard trying to figure it out. We’re just not quite there yet.
“I think the pressure and urgency to win is there each and every week, at least it is for me. These are all huge races. Not many of us that get to do this every week.
“…It’s a big deal to win any of these races. Always has been. I’ve never been in the front in the end and not wanted to win. You race as hard as you can for these wins. You hate it when you can’t hold on and win it. There’s no more I can do about it. We were in position. I did everything I possibly could do and got beat. It’s just the way it goes sometimes.
“You can only do your best and take your result for that day.”
And hope the law of averages is in his favor the next time.
Follow me @JerryBonkowski
Oct 22, 2014, 11:35 PM EDT
Brad Keselowski is flattered people might compare him with the late Dale Earnhardt, but he’ll be the first to say he’s not the new Intimidator in NASCAR.
Oct 22, 2014, 8:18 PM EDT
Perhaps the greatest collection of original Indianapolis 500 pace cars will soon be on display at an upcoming car show in suburban Chicago.
Oct 22, 2014, 7:36 PM EDT
For most Canadians, their homebrewed beer choice is typically Labatts or Molson. But countryman and IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe is starting to get some traction with his own beer brand, Hinchtown Hammer Down (HHD).
Oct 22, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT
On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman took a spin around Martinsville Speedway in the NBC race simulator to show why the paper-clip shaped track can be extremely difficult.
Oct 22, 2014, 4:13 PM EDT
In a stunning move that could potentially threaten his bid for a record-extending 17th NHRA Funny Car championship, John Force announced Wednesday that veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock has resigned, effective immediately.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
Crew chiefs, road crews for Nos. 10 and 41 Stewart-Haas Racing cars will swap starting at Texas.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT
More murky messaging from Leafield as Caterham’s future hangs in the balance.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
When you drive a car that produces nearly 10,000 horsepower and reaches speeds approaching 330 mph, a hurricane with wind speeds over 100 mph is nothing. That was the case Sunday for NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps.
Oct 22, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Ken Block, Matthew Wilson make WRC returns for this weekend’s Rally Spain.
Oct 22, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT
Sixteen-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force is expected to make a major announcement concerning John Force Racing later Tuesday afternoon.
Oct 22, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT
Kurt Busch’s 2015 paint scheme adds more red.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT
Lotus will have a new sponsor for Austin that’s beginning, but called Endless.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:06 AM EDT
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be featured for UPMC campaign that seeks to change the conversation about concussions.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:18 AM EDT
Series of competition changes announced by NASCAR on Wednesday.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
Sam Michael to leave McLaren at year’s end, the team confirms.
Oct 21, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
The championship contender talks about his reputation during a Monday night appearance at Texas Motor Speedway.
Oct 21, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
As NASCAR AMERICA’s Kyle Petty explains, the new Chase format has created something that NASCAR hasn’t seen before.
Oct 21, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
A ninth Martinsville win on Sunday would put Gordon into the Championship Race at Homestead. Check out his interview with NASCAR AMERICA’s Jason Weigandt about his success at M’Ville and more.
Oct 21, 2014, 5:44 PM EDT
Logano admits he should’ve given Patrick more space on the race track two weekends ago.
Oct 21, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT
Extended interviews with Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, and Carl Edwards also coming up on today’s episode of NASCAR AMERICA.
Video from NASCAR America
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