Don't like the "Chase for The Cup" format? Well, there are those who say that Matt Kenseth is responsible because of the conservative way he won a championship while winning only one race in 2003. For the record, that's utter crap. Kenseth is not the only driver to win a boring points race. There have been plenty of other seasons when all that the points leader had to do was start his engine in the next-to-last race of the season. If you must blame someone, blame NASCAR for fretting over losing TV viewers to the NFL.
The truth of the matter is that Kenseth has continued to do well since the Chase format was implemented in 2004. He hasn't finished outside the top 12 in points. With 18 career victories, he is averaging two wins a year, which is pretty good for a driver whose last name isn't Johnson or Busch.
One thing we find interesting about Kenseth is the way he entered the racing world. When he was 13, his dad made him a deal. He would buy a race car and drive it until Kenseth turned 16. For those three years, it was Matt's job to maintain the car and keep it competitive. We strongly suspect that there are several drivers out there right now who have never had a single grease molecule under their fingernails, so this alone makes us respect him. When Matt turned 16, he was allowed to drive the car and never looked back.
This doesn't mean he hit the big time right away. After graduating high school, he worked for a racecar chassis manufacturer selling and shipping parts while he chased his dream on the weekends. In fact, things didn't really start to take off until he moved to the South in 1996 and ran the Hooters Series, along with a few Camping World and Nationwide races. In 1998 he was tapped to pilot Bill Elliott's car at Dover so that Elliott could attend a funeral. Kenseth finished sixth, which was the third-best debut by any driver in the Sprint Cup series.
Kenseth and his wife Katie live in North Carolina with their two children Ross and Kaylin. Sixteen-year-old Ross is Kenseth's son from a previous relationship and has raced Legends and Limited Late Model cars. The happy couple welcomed Kaylin Nicola Kenseth to the family on July 7, 2009.
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