This morning at Dover, his title rival of one year ago, Matt Kenseth, took the same stance.
While the ’03 Cup champion believes he’ll need at least one win to make the postseason (he’s currently second in points, 11 back to Jeff Gordon), he said that he doesn’t feel any more or any less urgency with his situation.
“Certainly, we wish we had a win,” said Kenseth. “But you can’t really force it. You can’ t just say ‘Hey, man, we need a win’ and just go get one – if it were that easy, you’d win every week.”
Like Gordon, the driver above him in the standings, Kenseth has been very consistent in the first half of the regular season. He was unable to hold off Johnson in the 600, but his eventual third-place finish was his fourth Top-5 and seventh Top-10 in the last eight races.
That said, Kenseth believes a lack of pace has held back what has otherwise been a great effort so far by the entire No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota crew.
“I feel like my team has done a great job on pit road and executing [on stops], [making] great adjustments, doing all that stuff,” he said. “We’ve been in position to win a few races, but we just haven’t quite had the speed yet.
“We’ll just keep working on it and hopefully keep putting together mistake-free races and putting ourselves in position. Hopefully, sooner or later, it works out.”
It could very well work out this weekend on Dover’s “Monster Mile,” where he finished sixth in his inaugural Cup start back in 1998. He’s since become a two-time winner there (2006, 2011).
“I’ve always liked it – it’s really unique,” he said. “There’s not really any other tracks like this. It’s kind of like Bristol, but twice as big and twice and fast. It’s one of those tracks where it’s a challenge to get around by yourself, especially getting around fast by yourself.”