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Matt Kenseth says he’s not in ‘must-win’ situation

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 11: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, looks on as crew members work on his car in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 11, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Matt Kenseth says he doesn’t believe Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway is a “must win’’ for him despite finishing last among the Chase drivers last weekend at Charlotte.

Kenseth is 32 points behind Brad Keselowski, who holds the eighth and final transfer spot to the third round. Two races remain until the Chase field is cut from 12 to eight drivers.

Sunday’s race at Kansas, which is on NBC, provides Kenseth some hope. He has eight top-10 finishes, including two wins, in his last 10 starts at this 1.5-mile speedway.

“For me it’s really no different, we show up and try to do the best we can every week,’’ Kenseth said Friday at Kansas Speedway. “Same this week, obviously a win moves you on, but I don’t feel like it’s a must win. It would make it easier if we could win.’’

Kenseth is in this situation after a problem-filled race at Charlotte. He lost track position when he stopped outside his pit stall and had to back the car before his team could service it. Kenseth later made contact with Ryan Newman, sending Kenseth’s car into the wall. It was one of a number of contacts he had with the wall.

Kenseth said he hadn’t watched a replay of his incident with Newman after spending this week testing at Phoenix International Raceway.

“Ryan and I have always gotten along really well, we’ve always raced each other really well,’’ Kenseth said. “Since we wrecked, I most likely wasn’t clear so I’m sure at the end of the day it was my fault. I still haven’t watched it or seen it, but neither Ryan or I, either one of us wanted to be in that position. It hurt both of us. Can’t really do anything about last week. Just try to be smarter and if there’s a problem, try to fix it with that driver and move on.”

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