Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth is hoping to regain the form he had at the beginning of the season, as he feels his Roush Fenway Racing team's current performance could end up hampering its title chances.
The former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion claimed victory in the first two races of the season, but after leading the standings early on he currently ranks 10th in the drivers' points, and a fourth place at Dover has been his best result since then.
Although Kenseth says he does not keep a close eye on the standings on a weekly basis as the season is nine races away from starting the Chase for the Sprint Cup, he admits that if his team does not improve in the next few races, they could well be left out of the final "play-off."
"I look at the standings every few weeks or something, somebody will say where you're at. But, if you run good and you finish good, you'll get the points to make it to the Chase," Kenseth said "Certainly, it's a real big deal to make the Chase, and if you make it, you want to have a legitimate shot at a championship every year. We've been one of them the whole time. But, you want to get in, and we used to be really good at taking cars that didn't run that good and get better finishes than what we ran.
"But lately we've been doing the opposite of that for a long time, for the last couple of months, and that needs to stop and we need at least to get back to finishing where we run, and if we don't do that, we won't make it. I think we all realize that."
Kenseth reckons his team has to get back to its winning ways from the early part of the year, as otherwise he does not expect to be among the title contenders in the last ten races of the year.
"We haven't really been contenders to win races -- there have been a couple of races where we ran pretty good -- but we haven't been contenders to win races," said Kenseth.
"We've got to get running better to start with, but we've certainly got to get finishing better. Like, last week we ran 12th all week, which was nothing to be too excited about, and finished 22nd.
"We've been doing that a lot. Pocono, we ran third all day and finished 18th or something. We've got to figure out how to get that to stop. There's no way we're going to make it doing that."
Kenseth is currently just six points ahead of 12th placed Juan Pablo Montoya in the drivers' standings.