When Matt Kenseth headed into Martinsville behind Jimmie Johnson by four points in the Sprint Cup standings, it really felt like it was a very critical point of the season for Kenseth. Johnson came into Martinsville with eight career wins at the track, and it looked like everyone was just about to hand the chase for the Sprint Cup to the 48 team.
The funny thing about the outcome of that race is the fact that it had nothing to do with Johnson, but with Johnson’s teammate, Jeff Gordon. When Gordon passed Kenseth in the final stages of the race for the win at Martinsville, Kesneth said after the race that his struggles in the end were due to Gordon’s experience.
“Jeff’s experience here got me. I’m just not that experienced running up front here,” Kenseth noted via YahooSports.com. “And I had something that was working, but I was kind of hurting the rear tires and I hurt the front tires too and it just went away from me there at the end.”
When Kenseth said that, I knew the championship was about to slip away from him, even though he left that race tied with Johnson for the points lead.
If the experience got to Kenseth at a track at this point in the season, then I guess Johnson’s experience in the final race of the year at Homestead will get to Kenseth as well.
It’s a little surprising that Kenseth admitted his inexperience in any form, because he is a one-time Sprint Cup championship in his own right, as he won it all in 2003. Kenseth still has a chance to right the ship, but does anyone consider him the favorite at this point in time? I don’t.