Matt Kenseth 2012 Stats : Points Finish – 7th, 3 Wins, 13 Top Fives, 19 Top Tens, Average Running Position 10.4, Average Finish 11.1, Laps Led 480, Driver Rating 99.9
Strengths - Kenseth is a consistent driver who performs at a top tier elite level at many different venues. He’s strong at intermediate tracks, plate tracks, short tracks and flat tracks.
Weaknesses - Kenseth isn’t a road course ringer, but he’s also not as bad as many would think.
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Intermediate Track Grade- A, Kenseth is an intermediate track ace but his change of employers could prove to be a slight setback for him. Roush Fenway specializes at intermediate tracks and it’s hard to believe he could do better. Last season he scored the 6th most points and had a 11.3 average finish. On a year to year basis he consistently performs well at these venues. In 2011 he scored the 3rd most points on this track type and in 2010 he scored the 2nd most points. Kenseth is a driver who I’ve always been able to pick confidently on this type of track and I expect that to continue in 2013
Flat Track Grade- A-, Last season Matt Kenseth had five finishes of 14th or better at flat tracks. If it wasn’t for late wrecks he likely would’ve finished within that mark in every flat track race. At Indy he spun in the last quarter of the race from a low double digit position and in the second race at Pocono he got together with Jimmie Johnson while they were battling for the lead. I think the team change will really help Kenseth at the smaller flat tracks. Those tracks are historical Roush Racing weak spots but at Joe Gibbs Racing their a strength. Having improved New Hampshire and Phoenix performances in the Chase will really help his Championship aspirations.
Short Track Grade- A-, Kenseth had a great season on this track type in 2012. He scored the 4th most points and finished in the top five in half the races. If it wasn’t for Tony Stewart wrecking him while they were battling for the lead in the Bristol night race he likely would’ve ranked #2 on this track type behind Clint Bowyer. In 2013 I think Kenseth’s fantasy stock on this track type will be high. Joe Gibbs Racing cars are the cream of the crop on short tracks. Their Toyota’s are one full tier better than Roush Racing Fords. Before his team change he was only a serious threat at Bristol. Now I think he’ll also be a threat at the other two.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- A, Matt Kenseth was in a league of his own last season at restirctor plate tracks. He won half the races and had a second place average finish. His plate racing prowess is without question but some important variables are changing in 2013 that will impact him. The biggest change is the car he’ll be driving. Kenseth will no longer be in the #17 which was powered by the FR9 engine. That engine was superior compared to the other makes. Another big change is that Greg Biffle will no longer be his teammate. Biffle followed and pushed him religiously last season. I don’t see anyone going to such extraordinary lengths to help him out this season.
Road Course Track Grade- B, No one could confuse Kenseth for a road course ringer but he’s also not that bad on this track type. Last season he had finishes of 8th (Watkins Glen) and 13th (Infineon). At Watkins Glen he’s been very consistent. In the last six races at that New York track he’s finished between 8th and 14th. Infineon’s a tougher track but in the last two races there he’s finished a respectable 13th and 14th. One telling stat from Kenseth last year on this track type was his 11.5 average running position. That was only slightly off Jeff Gordon’s and Tony Stewart’s ranking last season.
How to use Matt Kenseth from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2013? In 2013 I would focus heavily on using Kenseth at intermediate tracks. They make up the majority of the schedule and there his best track type.