Matt Kenseth is going short track racing

Kenseth will return to the ‘World’s Fastest Quarter Mile Oval’

Cambridge, Wisconsin native Matt Kenseth grew up racing the short tracks in the hills of the state.

“My first car – what might be considered a sportsman – was a 1981 Camaro that Todd Kropf had driven to championships at Madison and Columbus 151 Speedway. On the third night out I won a feature. I ran 15 features in 1983 and won two of them,” Kenseth said of his early career.

In 1990, he purchased a late model from Rich Bickle. Kenseth ventured to Slinger, Wisconsin, a high-banked and bad-fast 1/4-mile paved oval.

He entered the season-opening race at Slinger Speedway. Kenseth parked his new late model in victory lane as Tony Strupp, the former track champion suffered a flat tire.

In 1994, Kenseth claimed two track championships at Wisconsin International Raceway (WIR) on Thursday nights and Madison International Speedway. In addition, he won the Slinger Nationals at Slinger Speedway.

He later moved South were he was signed to drive in the Hooters Series. That also led to a ride in the NASCAR Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series. It didn’t take long for him to land his first cup ride with Roush Racing.

Kenseth went on to run 665 NASCAR Cup Series races throughout his career. He became the 2003 Series champion and picked up 39 wins.

Slinger Speedway - Late Model
Slinger Speedway – Late Model

Things come full circle

At the end of the 2017 season, Joe Gibbs couldn’t find a sponsor for Matt Kenseth. He went into retirement as a full time driver.

For 2018, he was signed as a part-time driver for Roush Fenway Racing. He best finishes came in the last two races of the season. He finished 7th at ISM Raceway and 6th at Homestead.

For 2019, Matt Kenseth hasn’t announced any plans to return to NASCAR. However, he has just announced a return to short track racing…

On July 9, 2019, he will return to the Slinger Nationals at Slinger Speedway.

Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson at Homestead-Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 16: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Rookie Throwback Chevrolet, talks to Matt Kenseth, driver of the #6 Wyndham Rewards Ford, during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2018 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Matt Kenseth comments on the Slinger Nationals

“I can’t think of a better place for me to get back in a race car than Slinger,” Kenseth stated in a release by the track.

“It’s been a good track for me throughout my career. We’ve had a lot of success there, a lot of memorable moments, and I’m looking forward to going back.

“The Nationals have always been one of the major events in all of short track racing. Certainly it was the one you wanted to win growing up in Wisconsin.”

“Throughout the years, a lot of big names in NASCAR have raced in the Nationals. That’s a testament to how big of a race this has been for some time.”

Kenseth is a seven time winner of the event. In the last 25 years, Kenseth has won the event nearly 30% of the time. He won it in 1994, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012 and most recently in 2016.


Matt Kenseth | Slinger Speedway