Since the introduction of the new elimination format for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup last year, many drivers have spoken about an early victory as the equivalent of a “Get out of jail free” card.
With a win in the bank, teams can change their approaches and take risks they might not otherwise take, given that a victory virtually assures them of a place in the Chase.
Matt Kenseth, on the other hand, believes in a single-minded approach to every race, even though he just broke a 51-event winless streak last Sunday at Bristol.
“I've got to be honest, (my approach) really doesn't (change), and I hope the team's doesn't either really, to be honest with you,” Kenseth said. “I think that every week you show up with the idea of trying to qualify the best you can and trying to win the race. If you can't win, you want to finish second. If you can't finish second, you want to finish third.
“You always want to do the best you can. I've never been to the race track and not wanted to win, to do my best or not wanted to finish the best I could. I just don't feel like any of that changes. I know that where you are in the point standings doesn't have a big effect to where they rack you up when September comes along, but, man, we're only in April and we want to race hard every week and try to get the best results we can every week for our team and our sponsors and everybody involved.”