Kenseth Aims Higher
August 8, 2006 | 10:04 A.M. EST
But what happens when you reach that goal but the Chase hasn't arrived?
That's the question Matt Kenseth faces with five races remaining before the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" - the ten-race stretch that decides the season's NEXTEL Cup Champion.
With a 442-point cushion between himself and 11th place Kasey Kahne, Kenseth certainly has enough breathing room where he can begin feeling comfortable that he will be a part of the championship hunt starting in September. However, that doesn't mean the 2003 NEXTEL Cup champion hasn’t adopted a higher goal as the regular season winds down.
That goal is to lead the standings going into "The Chase."
"We've been chasing him all year," said Kenseth of championship leader Jimmie Johnson prior to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.
Ironically enough, the driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Tools Ford chased Johnson, to no avail, this past Sunday – finishing second.
Nonetheless, Kenseth and his team left Indianapolis with their goal in mind as the series makes its yearly visit to Watkins Glen International.
"You want to lead the points and you want to lead them every week. It's five points going into The Chase, but a couple of years ago the championship was so close that every five points counts. I think you want to be the leader and you want the momentum of leading the points and of running up front and winning races. We've been running as hard as we can every week. We've been taking our stuff every week and we've been trying really hard to get the momentum and to catch Jimmie and get the lead and be up there.
"You don't just want to fall into the thing and have that attitude and mindset and level of competitiveness going in. You want to be at your best when you go into The Chase."