Past champions Johnson, Kenseth, talk about elimination weekend at Kansas
By Dominic Aragon and Justin Melillo
October 20, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Kan.—For the first time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff history, Kansas Speedway will play host to the Round of 12 elimination race.
Following the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday afternoon, four drivers will be eliminated from having a chance to become the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion.
Seven-time MENCS Champion, Jimmie Johnson, and 2003 MENCS Champion, Matt Kenseth, are both on the bubble entering the final Kansas.
Both champions spoke to the media on Friday morning and talked about their thoughts on the elimination race, and how much time they’ve spent thinking about this race in particular.
“I never stop thinking about the racecar or racing,” said Johnson, a three-time winner at Kansas in the Cup Series. “...It’s the playoffs. It’s inevitable. It’s something that every team, drivers face with and we’re on the bubble right now.
“[I would] love to be locked in, but there’s only a couple (drivers) locked in as of now, we’ll just make the most of it.”
In contrast, Kenseth hasn’t been thinking about this race as much as any other race.
Kenseth advanced past the Round of 12 in two of the last three seasons, including last year.
“It hasn’t been a lot really, you have all year to collect all those points, which we didn’t do a good job at getting very many,” Kenseth said. “I think that, I know Talladega is very unique but you know all three races are equally as important, really.
“If you look at Martin and Brad, they got their wins the first two weeks so then this week doesn’t really matter. I mean it still does, you want to collect bonus points and all of them things, playoff points, whatever. But each race is equally as important.
“They always feel more important the way everybody looks that them when it’s actually a cutoff race, because you don’t have next week if you don’t perform well in this race. I mean, you do, but not out on the line for trying to run for a championship.
“To me, it’s just another weekend, another opportunity to go out and try to win and try to get this ship turned around a little bit.”
Johnson is currently inside the top-eight, in eighth, with a seven point cushion over the cutoff. Kenseth is outside of the top-eight, sitting in 10th place, nine points behind the cutoff.