Kenseth still seeking first Sprint Cup victory 

HUNTERSVILLE – Several signs point to Matt Kenseth possibly ending his victory drought this week.

Kenseth, who drives the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota for Huntersville-based Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, hasn’t won any of the 16 races this season. But he’s solidly in fourth place in driver points’ standings because he has finished second four times and has nine top-10 finishes.

Kenseth is the defending winner at Kentucky Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series returns this week (7:30 p.m. June 28). He’s raced there three times, with first-, seventh- and sixth-place finishes.

Kenseth is hoping to rebound from last week’s crash at Sonoma (Calif.), which ended his race. He finished a season-worst 42nd, but wasn’t seriously injured. Now, he’s back to answering questions about winning.

“I think the biggest sense of urgency probably is that we just know as an organization we need to be running better,” Kenseth said. “We're not running as good as we did last year as a group. We're not leading as many laps, sitting on as many poles, winning as many races. As a group we're not doing near as much of that or running up front as much as we were last year. So we need to get that better. As far as the urgency to get a win, yeah, you want to get one. In this new format you really need at least a win and be up in the top 30 to really feel confident about being in the Chase.”

 

Busch has Kentucky success

HUNTERSVILLE – Kyle Busch will be racing on a track this weekend where he’s had a lot of success. Busch, who drives the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Gibbs Racing, heads to Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400 on June 28. His resume there includes a victory, two top-fives and three top-10s. His average finish is fifth place, which is second-best among current NASCAR drivers.

Last week at Sonoma, Busch battled to reach 10th place with 12 laps remaining in the 110-lap race. But with four laps to go, contact from his brother, Kurt, sent Kyle Busch spinning and dropped him to a disappointing 25th-place finish.

 

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RACER RANKINGS

We rank Herald Weekly-area drivers in the racing world:

 

1. Paul Menard – Finished fifth in the Sprint Cup Series race in Sonoma, Calif. last week. That’s a top-five finish two weeks in a row. He’s rallying.

2. Matt Kenseth – Ignore the fact he hasn’t won a Sprint Cup race this season. He’s still fourth in the points race. That victory’s going to happen eventually.

3. Elliott Sadler – He’s firmly in second place in the Nationwide Series points race after a ninth-place finish in last weekend’s race in Plymouth, Wisc.

4. Kyle Larson – Leading the rookie driver points race and looks to establishing himself as one of the sport’s young rising stars. Solid in all formats.

5. Clint Bowyer – He’s been 10th in each of the past two Sprint Cup races, which means his team could be on the verge of something huge in the near future.