Matt Kenseth 2014 driver profile
January 27, 2014, NASCAR.com
Matt Kenseth may have surprised some folks when he announced he was leaving the Roush Fenway Racing organization after 14 seasons. And, considering that it takes awhile for a new team and driver/crew chief combination to get on the same page you might say the Wisconsin native’s 2013 season with Joe Gibbs Racing was a shocking surprise. The 41-year-old Kenseth had seven victories, two more than his previous best season 11 years ago. That’s only half the story. Five wins in the first 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races earned him the top seed in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup which he led over Jimmie Johnson with as few as three races to go. What derailed the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing express was a handling problem in the penultimate round at Phoenix International Raceway. A 23rd-place finish gave the eventual six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion a 28-point lead going into the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kenseth’s second-place performance, reminiscent of Tony Stewart’s 2011 charge to the title by winning the pole and leading the most laps wasn’t good enough as Johnson’s point lead was virtually unassailable. There’s every reason to believe that Kenseth and JGR crew chief Jason Ratcliff have what it takes to move up one more notch in 2014.
Kenseth was another product of Jack Roush’s driver development program. He won his first race – the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – in his first full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2000. Three years later he won the NASCAR premier series championship, the last under the pre-Chase format, beating Johnson by 90 points. Kenseth also is a two-time Daytona 500 champion. In addition to his 31 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins, Kenseth has 28 NASCAR Nationwide Series victories (including two with JGR) and three IROC wins as a representative for NASCAR.
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Car: No. 20 Home Depot/Dollar General Toyota Camry
Birthdate: March 10, 1972
Hometown: Cambridge, Wis.
Team Owner: Joe Gibbs
Crew Chief: Jason Ratcliff