Trouble in the camp: Joe Gibbs Racing drivers seeking speed
Kevin Harvick became the first repeat winner of our early 2014 season. We have some pretty big names like Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth, who are high up in the points but still haven’t won a race.
When you look at Jeff and Jimmie, they have what Kevin Harvick has and that’s a very fast race car each and every week. Jeff is our points leader and already has six top-10 finishes in eight races. Jimmie is fifth in points and has five top-10 finishes in eight races. Both have done everything but win a race this year. If you can keep running that well week in and week out, the wins will come. So I don’t think either of those two needs to be concerned.
Now with Matt Kenseth, that is a little different story. If you look at Joe Gibbs Racing across the board, other than Kyle Busch’s win at Fontana, as a whole the three cars only have five top-five finishes in eight races. They really set the bar high last year. Combined, the three drivers won 12 races with Matt obviously winning the most at seven. With a 36-race schedule, Joe Gibbs Racing won a third of all the races last year.
So far this year it’s been a different story. A couple weeks ago, Busch did a pre-race interview with Darrell Waltrip. In that interview, Kyle admitted that they know the Toyota camp is just a little behind right now when it comes to speed. You know what? It shows up on the track. Every week when it comes to qualifying, you don’t see a lot of Toyotas up near the front. On the upside, though, they do seem to race well, so that’s a positive.
Should Matt be concerned after eight races? Maybe just a little, but the reality is he is having a typical Matt Kenseth type of season. He’s second in the points. He has two top-five finishes and six top-10 finishes in only eight races. So obviously, he is racing well. I think we all know the wins will come for Matt, but it might not be as fast and furious as they did in 2013.