2003 Winston Cup Winner
A native of Cambridge, Wisconsin, Matt Kenseth has raced on some of the most competitive short tracks in this nation. His stock car racing career began in 1988 at the young age of 16. Success came early and swift when Matt, a high school junior, won his first feature event in just his third race.
Like many successful drivers, Kenseth was introduced to racing through his family. Matt's dad, Roy, made him a deal when Matt was 13. Roy bought a racecar and would drive it if Matt would work on it. Then, when Matt turned 16, he would get behind the wheel.
By age 19, Kenseth had moved up to the ultra-competitive Wisconsin late model ranks, where he became the youngest winner ever in ARTGO Challenge Series history. Kenseth shattered the old record set by current day Roush Racing teammate Mark Martin.
Over the next three seasons Kenseth scored 46 super-late model victories. In 1993, Matt captured the Alan Kulwicki Memorial Race, a pair of ARTGO features, and the Wisconsin Short Track Series 200. The 1994 season proved to be a banner year for Kenseth, as he won track titles at Madison International Speedway and Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna. Kenseth also became the youngest driver to ever win the prestigious Miller Genuine Daft National championships. Another track title followed in 1995, as he won 15 out of the 60 events en route to the championship.
During the 1995 season, Matt made his first trip south to compete in the NASCAR All Pro Series, and in 1996 Kenseth finished third in the rugged Hooters Series. During the 1997 season Matt drove for Gary Gunderman in the ASA Series. While running in second place in the ASA point standings, Kenseth answered a call from former competitor Robbie Reiser and packed his bags for the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series.
Kenseth took the reigns of the No. 17 Reiser Enterprises Monte Carlo on April 19, 1997, at the Nashville Speedway, and brought home an 11th place finish. Kenseth went on to capture two top five's and seven top ten's in just 21 starts and finished runner up in the Rookie of the Year points battle.
In his first full Busch Series season, Kenseth finished second in the points battle, capturing three wins, seventeen top-five and twenty-three top-10 finishes. Notably, Kenseth had the most top-10 finishes of all Busch Grand National Series contenders that year. Kenseth's talents did not go unnoticed as he was called to substitute for Bill Elliott in the elite NASCAR Winston Cup Series at Dover Downs in September of 1998. Incredibly, Kenseth finished sixth in his first start, competing against the world's greatest stock car drivers.
Kenseth battled once again for the Busch Series championship in 1999. With DEWALT Power Tools as a sponsor, the team had four wins, two poles, 14 top-5's, and 20 top-10's. Kenseth finished third in the points race. He also made five Winston Cup starts for Roush Racing and DEWALT Power Tools in 1999, with the highlight being a fourth place finish at Dover Downs.
The year 2000 brought sweet success to Kenseth in the Winston Cup Series. In addition to making history as the first Rookie to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in just his 18th start, Kenseth coveted the prestigious Raybestos Rookie of the Year title. At season's end, the team finished 14th in the championship point standings and recorded four top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
As a sophomore in Winston Cup, Kenseth and his DEWALT Team had times of trials and tribulations. There were no wins, but the team finished a solid 13th in the point standings along with four top-fives and nine top-10's to round out the season. The team came on strong in the last half of the season, and set a world record by winning the Unocal 76 / Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition. Kenseth and the team finished the season strong with three fourth-place finishes in the last six races of the year.
Matt's third year in Winston Cup was his most successful up to that point, earning five wins at a variety of tracks throughout the year. The DeWalt 'Killer Bees' pit crew successfully defended their Unocal 76 / Rockingham World Pit Crew Championship, setting another record time. Kenseth finished 8th in the points standings.
At the mid-point of the 2003 season, Matt leads the Winston Cup standings with the widest margin since 1987. Matt has one victory so far in 2003, winning the third race of the season at Las Vegas. The team hopes to continue their consistency and end up at the head of the head table at the Waldorf-Astoria in December.
MATT KENSETH FAST FACTS
BIRTHDAY: March 10,1972 WIFE: Katie
HEIGHT: 5'9" CHILDREN: Ross
WEIGHT: 152 HOMETOWN: Cambridge, Wis.
Winston Cup Series leading five victories
North Carolina Speedway
Texas Motor Speedway
Michigan International Speedway
Richmond International Raceway
Phoenix International Raceway
Pit crew won World Pit Crew Competition for the second straight year
Broke their own world record time (16.75 seconds)
Finished 8th in the championship points standings
Winnings totaling over $2 million
Four top-fives, Nine top-tens
DEWALT Team won Unocal 76 World Championship Pit Crew Competition in Rockingham
Finished 13th in the Championship points standings
Winnings totaling over $2.3 million
Captured 2000 Raybestos Rookie of the Year title
Won Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe.s Motor Speedway in 18th start
Four top-five's, 11 top-ten's
Winnings totaling over $2 million
Partnered with DEWALT Industrial Tools in the Busch Series
Captured four wins, two poles, 14 top five's, 20 top-ten's Finished 3rd in the championship points standings
Competed in five Winston Cup races with DEWALT and Roush Racing
Captured three wins, one pole, 17 top-five's, 23 top-ten's
Finished 2nd in the championship points standings
Made Winston Cup Series debut at Dover Downs, finished 6th
Joined Reiser Enterprises in April
Two Busch Grand National Series third place finishes, Dover & California
Finished second in the rookie battle with just 21 starts
Second in ASA Series points prior to moving to Reiser Enterprises
Made Busch Series debut at Charlotte in May
Finished third in the Hooters Wes with one win
Captured track title at Wisconsin Intl. Raceway in Kaukauna
Scored four consecutive feature wins at Kaukauna
Won Red, White and Blue State Championship Series
Captured track titles at Wisconsin Int.l and at Madison Int.l
Holds record for most feature wins (12) at Madison
Won the Miller Genuine Draft National championships
Won Late Model Rookie of the Year at Wisconsin International
Captured the Alan Kulwicki Memorial race at Slinger Speedway
Won two ARTGO feature races
Won a feature in the Wisconsin Short Track Series 200
Became the youngest driver ever to win an ARTGO racing series feature event breaking record set previously by Mark Martin
Won Late Model Rookie of the Year at Slinger Speedway