Updated: April 22, 2013, 1:55 PM ET

Matt Kenseth Wins At Kansas

Sprint Cup: Five things we know after Kansas

By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

One quarter of the Sprint Cup season is in the books. Here are five things we know:

• Matt Kenseth did the right thing.
• Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Chevy are the team to beat, again.
• Brad Keselowski will keep battling.
• Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are the early winners with the new Gen-6.
• Tony Stewart is in big trouble.

Let's start with Kenseth. Moving to JGR may go down as the best decision of his career.

Kenseth won for the second time this season on Sunday at Kansas Speedway with a No. 20 Toyota that clearly was the class of the field. Kenseth has won two of the three races this season on 1.5-mile ovals, the tracks where success is a must for title contenders.

And for a guy who rarely shows his emotions, he is downright giddy over being at JGR.

"I'm so proud to be part of this team," Kenseth said on his radio moments after winning Sunday. "This is a dream come true."

Matt Kenseth
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesMatt Kenseth has two wins in eight starts behind the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.

The JGR folks are thrilled to have him. Consider this stat: The No. 20 team never started a season with two victories in the first eight races (including Tony Stewart's two championship seasons in the car) until now.

Some people may point out that Kenseth (eighth) ranks below former Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle (fourth) and Carl Edwards (sixth) in the standings.

Don't be misled. Kenseth suffered a blown engine at Daytona and was at the wrong place, wrong time when Jeff Gordon blew a tire in front of him at Bristol.

But the No. 20 team is as good as it has ever been. A second championship for Kenseth could come 10 years after his first one.

To do so, Kenseth will have to beat the master. Johnson and the 48 team were not running well most of the weekend at Kansas, but as usual, they were near the front when it counted down the stretch on race day.

Johnson finished third and increased his lead in the standings to 37 points over teammate Kasey Kahne and 38 over Keselowski. Johnson has an average finish this season of 6.6. Five-Time is looking a lot like Six-Time.

"It's hard to believe we've got a huge gap like that in the points, already," Johnson said afterward. "To be 37 points up is pretty awesome."

Johnson can thank NASCAR for 25 of the points he has on Keselowski. The reigning champ lost those points as part of the Penske Racing penalties from Texas, pending an appeal.

Regardless of the appeal outcome, Keselowski and the No. 2 Ford team showed the fortitude Sunday that helped make them champions last year. After going a lap down early and competing with a damaged car that had the back end torn off it by the end of the race, Keselowski finished sixth.

It was an in-your-face moment, a symbolic effort that says Keselowski's team can overcome whatever hardship befalls it.

"This was a gritty effort by the team today," Keselowski said in a postrace TV interview. "I usually don't feel good without a win, but to come away with a sixth kind of feels like one today."

Keselowski is winless in 2013, which will need to change if he hopes to earn the title again. JGR and Hendrick drivers have won seven of the first eight races this year.

Hendrick has three drivers in the top five -- Johnson, Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. JGR has four victories -- Kenseth's two wins and two for Kyle Busch. Those two organizations are the early leaders on figuring out the Gen-6.

The organization that hasn't figured it out is Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart is off to the worst start of his career, ranking 21st in the standings. He finished 21st Sunday, the fifth time this year he's finished worse than 20th.

SHR driver Ryan Newman isn't much better, ranking 17th, and rookie Danica Patrick is learning the ropes, ranking 25th.

Theories abound on why SHR is struggling, but something has to change soon for Stewart to have any hopes of making the Chase.

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer

Kenseth's Success With Joe Gibbs Racing