All-star win or not, Kenseth’s season is star material

05/16/2013 10:07 AM

05/16/2013 5:45 PM

If you tried to pick a NASCAR all-star team, nobody would think you were crazy if you wanted to start it with Matt Kenseth.

If it were baseball, he’d be the starting pitcher.

Basketball, the leading vote-getter.

Football, he might not go. (Just kidding, NFL, haha).

But seriously, folks, as NASCAR gets ready to run its all-star race on Saturday night in Charlotte, there is no driver more deserving of all-star status than the driver of the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.

He’s won three times this year, more than any other driver. He’s led 781 laps, more than any other driver. He’s also picked up two poles and won the second-most money.

Yep, all-star.

But Kenseth has not piled up wins in NASCAR's all-star race.

He has one, and teammate Kyle Busch, who has also been burning up the track this year for JGR, does not have any.

So this weekend might be their time to shine for Joe Gibbs.

But neither one has to have it, except to the extent they want it in their own mind, to validate their year. Especially so in the case of Kenseth, who already has won a Sprint Cup championship.

He can leave the track Saturday night knowing his switch from Roush Fenway to Joe Gibbs last winter looks like perhaps the best driver move in history.

He is busy building a championship season. There’s not an all-star that wouldn’t take that.

The all-stars

Twenty-two drivers will compete in Sprint Cup’s all-star race. Here is how they are selected:

First, anyone who won in 2012 or has in 2013. Then, the past 10 all-star winners and the past 10 Cup champions. After that, the top two in the Sprint Showdown (a qualifier) and then the winner of the fan vote.

The 19 drivers already in: Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Ryan Newman, David Ragan and Tony Stewart.

Kurt Busch and Martin got in by being all-star winners in the past 10 years.

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