(From Roush Racing)
March 10, 1972
the #17 DEWALT Ford Taurus
and raised in Cambridge, WI, just outside of Madison, Matt
Kenseth raced on some of the most competitive short tracks in
the nation. Kenseth began his stock car racing career in 1988 at
the age of 16. In just his third race, Matt, then just a high
school junior, won his first feature event.
Like many successful
drivers, Kenseth was introduced to racing through his family.
"My dad made me a deal when I was 13. He would buy me a
race car and drive it if I would work on it and keep it up.
Then, when I turned 16, I could drive the car. It was hard work,
but it was also a great experience and really prepared me to do
more than just steer the car," stated Kenseth.
By the age of 19,
Kenseth had already moved up to the ultra-competitive Wisconsin
late model ranks, taking on the likes of Dick Trickle, Ted
Musgrave and Rick Bickle. Matt Kenseth became the youngest
winner ever in the ARTGO Challenge Series history, capturing an
event in LaCrosse, WI. The old record was held by NASCAR Winston
Cup star Mark Martin. Many were quick to make comparisons
between the two drivers.
Over the next three
seasons, Kenseth did little to slow comparisons to great
drivers, capturing 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 (WI) International Speedway and Wisconsin
International Raceway in Kaukauna. Matt also won the prestigious
Miller Genuine Draft National championships, becoming the
youngest driver to win the title. Another track title followed
in 1995 as Kenseth won 15 out of the 60 events en route to the
During the 1995 season,
Matt made his first trip south to the NASCAR All Pro Series,
earning a trio of top-three finishes in four starts. In 1996,
Kenseth finished a strong third in the rugged Hooters Series,
with one victory. During the 1997 season, Matt began driving in
the ASA Series for Gary Gunderman's All Star Racing Team. 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 reins
of the No. 17 Reiser Enterprises Monte Carlo on April 19, 1997,
at the Nashville Speedway, bringing home an 11th place finish.
Kenseth went on to capture two top fives and seven top tens in
just 21 starts and finished second in the Rookie of the Year
In 1998, Kenseth's first
full Busch season, Matt finished second in the Championship
Points Battle, capturing three wins, 17 top-five and 23 top-10
finishes. Kenseth grabbed the most top-10 finishes of all Busch
Series contenders in 1998. Matt also made his Winston Cup debut
in 1998 at Dover Downs in September, substituting for Bill
Elliott in the McDonald's Ford. Kenseth finished an incredible
sixth in just his first start, racing hard with top Winston Cup
Kenseth battled once
again for the Busch Series Championship in 1999. Matt grabbed
four wins, two poles, 14 top fives and 20 top 10s and finished
third in the points race. Kenseth also made five Winston Cup
starts for Roush Racing and DEWALT Tools in 1999. The highlight
came at Dover Downs with Matt grabbing a fourth place finish.
The 2000 season was a
breakthrough year for Kenseth. In addition to capturing his
first career victory at the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 at
Charlotte Motor Speedway in May in just his 18th Winston Cup
start, Kenseth finished 14th in the championship points. He
captured the coveted Raybestos Rookie of the Year title with
unmatched consistency. Kenseth recorded four top-five and 11
top-ten finishes, and collected over $2 million in prize money.
Matt Kenseth had a solid
sophomore campaign on the Winston Cup circuit. Despite
struggling through an early-season slump, Kenseth finished
strong with three top fives in the last six races of the season.
Led by Robbie Reiser, Kenseth's pit crew beat out 24 of the best
crews in Winston Cup to win the Unocal 76/Rockingham World Pit
Crew Competition and set a new world record. Kenseth matched the
previous season with four top fives, collected nine top 10s and
improved one spot in point standings to finish 13th.
season in NASCAR's Winston Cup series proved to fans and
competitors alike that Kenseth is a driver to watch. With a
series-high five victories in 2002, Kenseth became a serious
threat in the championship race. Kenseth made his presence known
week after week collecting one pole, 11 top fives, and 19 top
10s. With Reiser still by his side, Kenseth finished the
successful season eighth in the point standings. Matt's crew
outperformed the competition once again, winning the World Pit
Crew Competition and setting a new world record two years in a