BIRTHDAY: March 10,1972
CHILDREN: Ross, Kaylin
HOMETOWN: Cambridge, Wis.
RESIDES: Mooresville, N.C.
Matt Kenseth’s 2009 victory in the famed Photo by Doug HornickelDaytona 500 not only added another major accolade to the driver’s already rich
portfolio, it also made the Cambridge, Wis., native one of only five drivers in NASCAR history to win a Cup Championship, the Raybestos Rookie
Award, and the Daytona 500, placing him in the elite company of Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, David Pearson, and Richard Petty.
In addition, during his 11-year Sprint Cup career, Kenseth boasts an International Race of Champions (IROC) title in 2004, and he is one of only two
drivers to make the “Chase for the NASCAR Cup” in each of its first five seasons. Kenseth has visited victory lane in the Cup Series on 18 occasions,
scored 95 top-five finishes, 174 top 10’s, and four poles, and he took home the 2003 Sprint Cup Championship to become Roush Fenway’s first Cup
Champion. Kenseth has also collected 25 wins in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series along with 16 poles.
Born and raised in Cambridge, Kenseth began his racing career at the age of 16, winning his first feature event in only his third race. By the age of 19,
Kenseth was racing against the likes of Dick Trickle, Ted Musgrave, and Rich Bickle in the Wisconsin late model ranks. With a win in LaCrosse, Wis.,
Kenseth set a new record for being the youngest winner in ARTGO Challenge Series history, a distinction previously held by his future teammate Mark
Kenseth took the Wisconsin racing ranks by storm in the early ’90s, winning races and track titles at venues all across Wisconsin, becoming the
youngest driver to ever win the prestigious Miller Genuine Draft National championships in 1994.
Following another Wisconsin track title in 1995 and successful runs in NASCAR All Pro Series (1995), the Hooters Series (1996), and the ASA Series
(1997), Kenseth got a fateful call in 1997 from a fellow Wisconsin racer, Robbie Reiser, who asked Kenseth to drive for his team in the NASCAR
Nationwide Series. The Kenseth-Reiser tandem debuted on April 19, 1997, at Nashville Speedway, finishing 11th. Kenseth went on to capture two top-
five and seven top-10 finishes in 21 starts and finished second in the Rookie of the Year battle.
In 1998, Kenseth’s first full Nationwide Series season, he finished second in the championship points with three wins. He also made his Cup debut,
substituting for Bill Elliott in the McDonald’s Ford at Dover in September. The young Kenseth drove to an impressive sixth-place finish in his first run
with NASCAR’s elite. Kenseth finished third in the Nationwide Series points in 1999. He also made five Cup starts in the No. 17 DEWALT Ford.
In 2000, Kenseth and the No. 17 team went full-time Cup racing. He won his first career Cup race at the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and
earned four top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. For his efforts he was named the 2000 Raybestos Rookie of the Year.
The team finished strong in 2001, with three top-five finishes in the last six races. In addition, the No. 17 pit crew set a world record in winning the
Unocal 76/ Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition, besting 24 other teams for the honor.
In 2002, Kenseth registered a series-best five victories, and finished eighth in the DeWALT Crew wins 2001 Pit Crew championshipfinal point standings.
The No. 17 crew won its second straight Unocal 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition with another world record, conducting a full pit stop in
16.81 seconds. Kenseth, Reiser, and Roush Fenway Racing made it all click in 2003 as the No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford team won the final Winston-era
Cup Championship with a record-setting performance. Kenseth’s consistency kept the rest of the field at bay with a series-best 23 top-10 finishes and 11
top-five finishes. Kenseth led the championship point standings for a record-breaking 34 straight weeks en route to Roush Fenway Racing’s first-ever
Kenseth and the team picked up where they left off, winning two of the first three races in 2004. Kenseth qualified for the inaugural Chase for the
Nextel Cup and finished eighth in the final standings. In addition, he followed up his 2003 Cup title by capturing the prestigious International Race of
Champions (IROC) title, winning two of the series’ four events. Kenseth and Kane have a photo finish at Rockingham in 2004.The 2005 season is most
remembered for the terrific surge that saw Kenseth charge from 24th in the points in mid-June — a staggering 320 points out of 10th — to clinching
his second berth in the Chase for the Cup just 12 weeks later. During that stretch, the No. 17 DEWALT Ford led 626 laps, scored six top-five finishes,
and a victory to clinch a spot in the 10-car “playoff.” The team would finish the season seventh.
Kenseth won four times in the Cup car in ’06, including back-to-back victories in August at Michigan and Bristol. He become the first driver since Dale
Earnhardt to win back-to-back Bristol night races and he became one of only three drivers to make the Chase for the 2005 ChasersCup in each of its
first three season. Kenseth entered the 2006 10-race Chase “playoff” atop the point standings and went on to finish second in the final standings, 56
points outside of first. Along the way he set career highs for top-five finishes (15), laps led (1,132), and average finish (9.8).
Kenseth would once again qualify for the Chase in 2007, making him only one of two drivers to accomplish the feat in the first four seasons of the
format’s existence. He ran virtually the entire “regular” season inside the top five, before hitting a string of tough luck early in the Chase. Still, the
team responded with a Kenseth wins his second consecutive Bristol night race in 2006.string of five straight top-five finishes to end the season,
culminating in a victory in the season finale at Homestead. Kenseth finished the season fourth in the Sprint Cup point standings and his 624 laps led in
the Chase were the most of any driver.
In 2008 Kenseth once again secured his place in the NASCAR Chase for the Cup, running to 20 top-10 finishes and an 11th-place finish in the point
standings. He also made his 300th Cup start at Phoenix in April.
In 2009 Kenseth began the season with back-to-back victories, winning NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl — the Daytona 500 — and followed that up
with a win the next week at California Speedway. However, the team would struggle down the stretch, narrowly missing the “Chase for the Cup” for the
first time in its six-year existence. In fact, Kenseth became the first driver in Chase history to hold a qualifying position for the Chase each of the first
25 weeks of the season without qualifying for the Chase. In addition to the two wins, Kenseth earned his fourth career Cup pole, qualifying first at
Darlington in May. He won his 25th Nationwide race at Darlington that same weekend and earned Nationwide poles at Richmond and Texas.
|Matthew Roy "Matt" Kenseth
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