Heading into Sunday afternoon’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, Matt Kenseth finds himself eight points below the cutoff line to make the Round of 8.
Though the driver of the No. 20 Toyota finished inside the top 15 at Charlotte and Talladega, a lack of stage points leaves him with a small deficit to make up at a track that’s been relatively kind to him. He has two wins – one with Roush Fenway Racing and one with Joe Gibbs Racing – in 23 starts. In his last five races at Kansas, he has three top 10s, a 14th and a 12th earlier this year.
“You’re only as good as your last race,” Kenseth said Friday at the track. “Our last one here we ran really, really bad. Looking forward to getting on the track today and hopefully redeeming ourselves this weekend.”
Asked about his chances to move forward in the playoffs this weekend, Kenseth’s response was vague, saying “I guess I could give you a better answer after all the practices are done tomorrow.
“I’m optimistic we’ll unload a decent speed today, it will drive decent, we’ll get it driving good tomorrow, I hope,” he continued. “We’ve got to go there and have a solid run, obviously, to get to the next round. If we don’t run good Sunday, then we don’t deserve to be in the next round anyway.
“Hopefully we can hit it right this weekend and as a group, we can all execute, perform at a high level like we’re capable of doing and move on to next week.”
Kenseth ran eighth quickest in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ opening practice on Friday.