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That’s the same attitude Kenseth will take into Sunday’s finale even though he likely saw the championship slip away last week at Phoenix. Trailing by just seven points headed into Phoenix, he had the worst race of his season and lost 21 points to Johnson.

Although he gave what seemed to be a concession speech after the race, Kenseth said Thursday he’s not waving the white flag.

“I actually still have more hope than you’d probably think I would,” Kenseth said. “I mean, anything can happen. There’s a lot of things in these cars. They’re mechanical, you never know when you’re going to have a flat tire or something go wrong or something break. You don’t wish that on anybody, but you just don’t know what’s going to happen out there.

“We’re going to go with the idea of trying to win the race, finish as high as we can and be there in case something does happen.”