2016 Season in Review: Matt Kenseth

(Getty Images)
0 Comments

Matt Kenseth

CREW CHIEF: Jason Ratcliff

TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing

POINTS: 5th

WINS: 2 (Dover I, Loudon I)

LAPS LED: 948

TOP 5s: 8

TOP 10s: 19

POLES: 1

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Kenseth had a good but fairly nondescript first 26 races. But when he qualified for the Chase, things suddenly shot up. He was second after Charlotte and Kansas and Martinsville but a 21st place finish at Phoenix cost him a chance at making the Championship 4 round. Still, Kenseth had another overall consistent season. With the exception of finishing 15th in 2015, he has four top-five and two other top-seven finishes in six of the last seven seasons. … Was part of all four of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers that finished consecutively from third through sixth: Kyle Busch (3rd), Carl Edwards (4th), Kenseth (5th) and Denny Hamlin (6th).

WHAT WENT WRONG: The Phoenix Chase race (finished 21st) cost Kenseth a chance at reaching the final round of the Chase. … Kenseth’s 37th place finish at Las Vegas (due to a crash) saw him drop to 20th place after the first three races. It took him 10 more races before finally cracking the top-10 in the Sprint Cup standings. … Dollar General will not return as one of the primary sponsors for Kenseth’s team.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2017: This could be one of the most pivotal seasons of Kenseth’s career. Not only is it the final year of his current contract, Kenseth enters his 18th full-time season in NASCAR’s premier series and also turns 45 in March. With drivers like Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez in the Joe Gibbs Racing stable, could this potentially be Kenseth’s last year with JGR?

Follow @JerryBonkowski