Late-model clash features battle of the Kenseths

August, 26, 2009
Kenseth versus Kenseth, Saturday night.

The Kenseth family bragging rights will be on the line when Matt Kenseth races his son, Ross, for the first time.

Ross is 16 and a budding racer. Dad is a Cup champion and the 2009 Daytona 500 winner.

But Ross might have an advantage when they face each other in a late-model race at Madison International Speedway in Matt's home state of Wisconsin.

"I've never run that type of car out there," Matt said. "I've watched many limited late-model races since Ross started, and they're very competitive.

"It's a great series with a lot of great drivers. I'm sure it will be a lot of fun and a great learning experience."

The Kenseth boys will compete in a 50-lap feature event. Ross is doing things the way his dad did, learning his craft on short tracks in the Midwest. He has won two consecutive races and leads the Big 8 Late Model Series standings.

"To compare me at 16 and him at 16, there's honestly no comparison," Matt said of his son on Ross' Web site. "He's so far ahead of where I was it is unbelievable. He's having a lot of fun with it and I've been really proud of him."

Ross is 6-foot-2, 4 inches taller than his dad. Ross got his driver's license two months ago, but he's been racing for 11 years.

"And I've been in the late models for about two years now," Ross said on the Web site. "I just love to race."

Dad has one requirement for Ross's racing career. Ross must maintain a 3.5 grade-point average in high school.

"He surprised us with a 3.7 grade average," Matt said. "So he's been doing all the things he needs to do to be able to race."

Matt has a few things he needs to do in the next two Cup races to earn a spot in the 2009 Chase. He's on the bubble in the 12th spot heading for the Labor Day weekend race at Atlanta, only 34 points ahead of Kyle Busch.

Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson are the only drivers who have competed in all five previous Chase playoffs.

For now, Matt will worry about trying to outrace his son Saturday night.

"I don't know," Matt said. "That's probably why we haven't raced against before. I'm afraid he'll beat me."

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer



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