SLINGER, Wis. (July 15, 2008) -- As the fireworks exploded over Slinger Speedway on a sticky Tuesday night, Matt Kenseth was crowned the newest four-time champion of the prestigious late-model event.
No, it’s wasn’t quite the 2003 Winston Cup championship or even a Nationwide Series race. But yes, it still mattered to him.
“It’s different, but it’s the same,” said Kenseth, who also won in 1994, when he was a short-track racer from Cambridge, and in 2002 and ’06, after he’d made a name in NASCAR.
“It means a lot. It’s never easy; it’s always hard. But it’s almost harder when you come back like this. It takes a little while to get in the groove and figure out the car and the adjustments.
“It’s a good thing we had a break, because we weren’t that good in the first half, and they made some adjustments that made it just right.”
Kenseth tied Nationals co-creator Dick Trickle, the late Joe Shear and five-time track champion Lowell Bennett for the all-time lead for titles in the event.
Kenseth’s car was loose and his crew made what he called huge adjustments during the break.
Kenseth became the last of six leaders in an aggressive, push-and-shove race when he finally got around the leader on a restart on the 138th lap. Kenseth had been trying for more than 10 laps and couldn’t pull it off after a previous yellow flag.
“That was the difference,” Kenseth said. “If we would have been lined up with him in front of me, it would have been harder to pass.
As second and third-place cars waged a wild side-by-side battle for second place, Kenseth pulled away to win the race.