Matt Kenseth comes into sin city after mixed results in the first two weeks of the NASCAR season.
His season started with a wreck halfway through the Daytona 500. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time when teammate Kyle Busch suffered a right-rear tire blowout and spun out in Turn 3 on lap 105, collecting Erik Jones and Kenseth.
Kenseth left Daytona with the third last-place finish of his career and 32nd in points.
Despite the finish, Kenseth said it was “hard to count Daytona.”
“Everybody – it’s so easy to get caught up in a wreck there, and like our wreck at Daytona, I really didn’t have anything to do with that, we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, so there’s just nothing you can do about that. I don’t put a lot of stock in where you leave in the points standings after Daytona. I just never have because it doesn’t really have much to do with the rest of the season.”
The following week in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he was busted for speeding twice, but rallied to finish third on a day when the Joe Gibbs Racing cars were a non-factor.
He left Atlanta 15th in points.
Kenseth thought he ran “pretty well really the whole day,” even with the speeding penalties.
“We knew they added segments (at Atlanta). It’s just that you go through the segments pretty fast,” Kenseth said. “When they’re twice as long, even if you’re not trying to cheat a segment or do something like that, if you look away for a second at your pit stall or whatever and you get going a little bit, you’ve got some room to slow down and correct because they’re timed segments.”