NASCAR

Laid-back Kenseth is sneaky fast

LAID-BACK MATT?
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth is rolling.
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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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He just won his fourth race of the season. He is doing it with a brand new team in a first-ever Gen-6 car. He’s gone from being known in the middle part of his career as not being a restrictor-plate ace to winning the Daytona 500 twice and winning at Talladega. Had it not been for a blown motor after leading 86 of 200 laps, he might have won this year’s Daytona 500, because he was just that fast.

Would you be surprised if I said I was really optimistic about Matt Kenseth’s chances Saturday night under the lights at Daytona?

I put Matt Kenseth in the same category as sneaky-fast drivers such as superstars David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip and Bill Elliott. Matt is so laid-back that you think there is no way this guy can get it done. You’ll be watching him and think this track or that track doesn’t suit his style.

What you are seeing this year is the experience of a veteran and the God-given talent behind the wheel of a stock car all combined with a championship-winning team and, again, a bad-fast race car. Right now, today, I really believe that Matt can go and win at any racetrack on our schedule but even more so when it comes to superspeedways.

I said this week that Daytona is the combination of a thinking man’s racetrack and a driver’s racetrack. Matt Kenseth embodies both sides of that equation. He has the talent and he has the smarts at these big tracks of knowing where he needs to be and when. That’s a powerful combination. Actually, you should consider it a winning combination, and Matt has been showing us all that lately.

Tagged: Matt Kenseth

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