Kenseth Searching for First Win of the Season at Bristol

by Angela Campbell On Wed, Aug. 16, 2017

Photo Credit: Don Dunn

With three races remaining in the regular season, Matt Kenseth is still searching for his first win of the year. As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, his past success at the .533-mile track could easily translate into a trip to Victory Lane.

In 35 starts at Bristol, Kenseth has proven his mastery of the track. He has captured four checkered flags and two of those victories were won from the pole, in 2005 and 2015. He enters the race with the highest driver rating (100.2) and has the series-most quality passes with 810. Kenseth leads all active drivers with 14 top fives and the most top 10s (21). In this year’s spring Food City 500 at Bristol, he finished in fourth place.

Although he has had an inconsistent year, in the four races leading up to the Pure Michigan 400 last week, he gained some momentum, scoring three top-fives and finishing ninth at Pocono Raceway. Kenseth was in third place at Michigan International Speedway when, after a caution late in the race, contact on the restart caused him to fall back through the field which resulted in a 24th place finish.

After a second place result at Watkins Glen, his best finish this year, Kenseth was optimistic about returning to Victory Lane soon.

“So, we’ve been able to make a little comeback in the points, which is nice especially for the season that we’ve had. But, lately we’ve been running a lot better,” he said, “and I feel like we keep running like this, hopefully, we can get a win the next few weeks.”

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is in the last available position in the current playoff scenario. Chase Elliott in 14th and Jamie McMurray in 15th, are winless this season, as well. What this means is that if a new driver wins at Bristol, other than Elliott or McMurray, Kenseth loses his spot in the playoffs.

Kenseth also has Clint Bowyer closing in on him for the final spot, just 31 points behind in 17th place. With time running out, a victory is the only way he can secure his position in the playoffs. Considering Kenseth’s status as a free agent, the opportunity to contend for the championship at this point in his career is vital.

“I think I’ve got some wins left in me and hopefully can race for championships. Right now,” Kenseth said, “my focus is on finishing up this year.”

Follow @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.

 

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