Don’t let Joe Gibbs Racing know that they haven’t won a title since 2005 with Tony Stewart. That the best they’ve done in the last two years was a sixth place finish in the standings by Denny Hamlin last year. That Hamlin was the only one to make the Chase the since 2011.
No, these facts mean nothing to the team after Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch finished first and second for the second race in a row Sunday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. That puts them one/two in the standings with two races down in the Chase.
“Honestly, I just keep taking it one week at a time. It’s been a great start for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) — Kyle (Busch) ran second both races and had real strong cars. All three teams right now are working really closely together. I’m not sure where Denny (Hamlin) ended up, but I know he had a real good run today. I just feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be standing here honestly. I’m going to enjoy it and then look forward to getting to Dover,” Kenseth said from victory lane Sunday.
Kyle Busch was singing much of the same tone when he exited his Toyota Sunday. “I just have to say thanks to all these guys on this team — everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing. There’s a reason why we think we’re the best and we’re showing it these first two weeks. Everybody on this M&M’s team — they never give up and they fought hard today, I fought hard today and tried everything. The 20 (Matt Kenseth) had a lot more than us this weekend for some reason, we’re not sure why. Sometimes you get those magical cars, but hopefully there’s a couple for us left this year. I don’t know — that’s all we had and we fought hard.”
The problem with having cars from the same shop is how do you beat a car that supposed to be equal? As Busch as found out the last two weeks, Kenseth has been able to get a little more out of his cars over what he’s been able to do.
“I didn’t have the car. Matt (Kenseth) was definitely faster than we were — car to car, clean air to clean air. He was better than us. I could gain on him and catch him through traffic and I could get through the traffic better than he could, so I can keep my distance that I had gained on him. He was definitely really good once we got to single-filed out and we had a little bit of a gap he could sorta stretch it out on me a little bit. It was a great effort for our team — this whole M&M’s Camry team was awesome. Really appreciate all the guys — they did a good job. The 20 (Matt Kenseth) just had a special car here this weekend. We tried everything to get it like theirs — it was just stupid fast. Hopefully, we have one of those magical cars in the next couple of weeks too,” commented Busch.
While we’re only two races in, they are both the early favorites for the title. Something that you didn’t expect coming in, despite Kenseth having won five times prior to that point. It’s about going to tracks that are weaknesses and delivering a performance you’ve done all year. Sunday was another example of Kenseth and his Joe Gibbs Racing team doing just that.
“I would have never dreamed this, especially here at New Hampshire. This track has always been such a struggle. It’s a great track and they have great fans here — I think we have more fans here than anywhere we go and it’s always fun racing in front of a big crowd. Usually I’m not out front. I don’t really even have the words to describe it,” said Kenseth.
The Joe Gibbs Racing teams look to keep the momentum up next weekend in the AAA 400 from the Dover International Speedway. Coverage of the event begins at 1 PM EST and can be seen on ESPN.