Kenseth, 48, stepped to the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in May after Kyle Larson’s firing.
In his first race straight back, the veteran driver scored a top-ten finish at Darlington. But since then, this has been a disappointing string of results with nothing more than 15th before the Pocono doubleheader. There the CGR team seemed to find something, finishing 11th and 12th in the two races that week-end.
At IMS, they led 12 laps and were runner-up in the Brickyard 400. Despite the time and effort, Kenseth admitted that your day “certainly wasn’t flawless.”
He added, “I could have done a little bit better on a few those restarts, particularly the last one. But I’m a lot more comfortable than I have already been for sure. I believe really Pocono was a large step forward for people. It was the first time, our finishes do not look spectacular, 11th and 12th, but we’ve been finishing 20th and 25th. Obviously it’s a definitely better car and team than that.
“I feel just like we had done some stuff at Pocono that really did actually work for me and directionally seemed to be better. The car drove decent here the entire entire day, too. I’m hoping we could just carry that momentum into Kentucky, just excersice forward with that. Hopefully get to leading like we did today, running at the start where this team belongs.”
Kenseth’s result moved him around 28th in points, but to make the playoffs the No. 42 team will need to win. IMS was a stepping stone towards that goal with ten races remaining in the standard season.
“Whenever you run well, you build more confidence, not just for myself but also for the team and everyone involved. Running bad posseses an opposite effect. Certainly we’d a good day starting off at Darlington. I was super sloppy and rusty, we still finished 10th.
“Just type of downhill from there. We went back and were just a little faster. I hit the wall, got a bad finish. Nothing was going really well. Like I said, we’d a couple decent races last weekend with no mistakes, no dilemmas, no dilemmas, got decent finishes. Today we could actually be competitive, run up front. (Crew chief Chad Johnston) had great calls, really good calls. Gave me everything I needed to win the race. I’m a little disappointed I couldn’t get it done honestly. Had the most effective tires, gave me good track position. Couldn’t quite get the 4 car (Harvick).
“When you run well, it builds confidence. But you need to go out and do it every single week.”
The series now heads to Kentucky Speedway, among the newer tracks on the circuit and a place where Kenseth has previously won at in 2013.