The biggest driver move this offseason was Matt Kenseth, 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, moving to Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2013 season. Kenseth has always been a contender and does have that championship on his record (not quite as respected since he was able to win it without a single victory throughout the season), yet he hadn’t been a force in the Jimmie Johnson and Post-48 era. Then he made the choice to move from Roush Fenway Racing to JGR.
By the looks of things, those Roush Fenway cars may have been holding back the ever cool and calm Kenseth. This year he has already scored three victories in his new No.20 ride with JGR. He is now the only driver in the field who has three victories this year reaching that milestone before points leader and picture of dominance Jimmie Johnson.
Even the rest of Joe Gibbs Racing is performing better this year. Kyle Busch has hit his stride once again after a horrible year last year winning two weekend sweeps at the Auto Club Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. Denny Hamlin may have been out for weeks, but he is back and isn’t about to give up Chase dreams any time soon shown by his runner-up finish Saturday. The result gave JGR the front row finish and took Hamlin from 31st in points to 27th.
There is no denying JGR is on the way to a championship, and there is no way this talent stacked stable doesn’t start winning Sprint Cup championships. Hendrick Motorsports better watch out because they aren’t the only big dogs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series anymore.
Hendrick does have Johnson who can carry a team on his own, but the rest of their drivers are either passing their prime (Jeff Gordon) or have not proven themselves up to championship caliber (Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) There may be two alpha dogs in NASCAR now.