Matt Kenseth has not lit the world on fire this year, but has consistently remained a threat for the championship. Now locked into the Chase after his sixth-place finish at Bristol, Kenseth says the team has more to work on, but is optimistic at his chances at a second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.
Sitting third in the standings with two wins, Kenseth may be among the favorites, but says this year's Chase is too hard to predict.
Going into the Chase, Kenseth feels all 12 teams battling for the title have a legitimate chance at the championship, but pointed out as the 10-race stretch goes on the group that realistically has a shot gets smaller each week.
"Right now I feel like since we're going to be part of that group, if we can do everything right we'll be a contender," he said. "If everything goes our way, the breaks go our way, and we run as well as I feel we are capable. You just never know until you get into it."
In order to be a contender, Kenseth believes consistency will be more important than ever before since the new points system makes poor finishes difficult to overcome, adding the champion will most likely have a couple of wins in the final 10 races.
With the level of competition seen throughout the season, Kenseth says there is no true favorite, but a team is going to have to be "beyond really good" if they want to knock off five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson.
"Jimmie and Chad (Knaus) and that whole group have found a way of being able to do as good as they need to to win a championship," he said. "It just seems like they've able to step it up and do just a little bit better than whoever was doing the best at that time."
Right now, Kenseth feels his team is performing in championship form, giving him his best opportunity to win the title in three years.
"This year it seems like there have been a lot of weeks where our performance has been really good," he said. "If we can take that performance, make our adjustments right and have everything happen where we at least get the finish we deserve off of speed or over-achieve just a little bit, I feel we can be a contender."