NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 7 Matt Kenseth

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Matt Kenseth

Season finish: 6th
2014 Season Stats: 0 wins, 13 top-5, 22 top-10, 2 Poles.

What went right: Unlike Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, Kenseth’s season was entirely consistent. He was the first driver to clinch a Chase spot on points. And he fought hard and long enough in the Chase to at least end close to where he hovered in the regular season points standings most of the year, in sixth.

What went wrong: As has been the case for so many runners-up in the following year, the season saw a performance dropoff, and in Kenseth’s case that witnessed a reduction from seven wins to zero wins. There was also, of course, that infamous blowup at Brad Keselowski post-race at Charlotte… some may view that as a case of “what went right,” but you know something had to go wrong to Kenseth to trigger such an unexpected outburst.

2015 Prospectus: Together with crew chief Jason Ratcliff, the No. 20 team should be focused on a return to Victory Lane. They’re the only JGR team retaining the same driver/crew chief lineup into 2015. Kenseth will have ex-Roush Fenway driver Carl Edwards as a teammate once more, which could rekindle their successful relationship together there.