Matt Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing team struggles down stretch

Matt Kenseth leads the Chase for the Championship standings by eight points over Jimmie Johnson....

Matt Kenseth leads the Chase for the Championship standings by eight points over Jimmie Johnson. (Getty)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:40 PM ET

We all know who the biggest winner was coming out of Phoenix International Raceway last Sunday - Jimmie Johnson - but what about the abject collapse of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team.

It would be easy to pin this on Matt Kenseth. After all, he was behind the wheel for the 312 laps around the one-mile oval.

That, however, would hardly be fair.

Kenseth had a career year at his new home at JGR, leading all of NASCAR Sprint Cup with seven wins, 11 top fives and 19 top 10s over the first 35 races.

And in the 10-race Chase for the Championship, he racked up wins at Chicagoland and New Hampshire with top five finishes at Charlotte, Martinsville and Texas.

Kenseth was just seven points back of Johnson and the No. 48 Chevrolet juggernaut after the Texas race before the disaster that was Phoenix.

It reminds one of another classic collapse just three seasons ago -- Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 Toyota team.


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