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Father gives son lesson in Kenseth showdown

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Gazette Staff
August 31, 2009
— Cambridge’s Matt Kenseth showed his son, Ross Kenseth, who’s the boss Sunday.

Matt, the 2003 NASCAR Cup champion and 2009 Daytona 500 champ, won both 50-lap segments in Sunday’s rain-delayed event at Madison International Speedway. It was the elder Kenseth’s first-ever race against his 16-year-old son.


Ross finished second in the first 50-lapper and came home sixth in the second segment to earn second place in the overall standings.


The first of the feature races didn’t take long to become the father/son duel promoted by Roy Kenseth, father and grandfather to the two big guns on the Sunday marquee.


Ross, starting from the outside of the front row, led early. Matt, who started on Row 4, moved into second place on lap 16 and was on his son’s bumper when the segment’s only yellow flag flew with 18 laps to go.


The two Kenseths battled bumper-to-bumper and side-by-side for the first six laps after the green flag, with Matt finally passing Ross on the high side with 12 laps to go in the segment.


Matt would go on to take the win by 0.698 seconds while Ross would hold off a tough challenge from Bobby Wilberg for third. Nathan Haseleu was fourth with Jeremy Miller in fifth.


“That was a good time. It was better than I hoped for," Matt Kenseth said after the race. “We ran good and got to battle with Ross for the win, which I didn't think was going to happen with all of the competition out there. It was a lot of fun.”


Matt was asked about passing Ross for the win. “It was fun for me because I was the one catching him. If it was the other way around it would not have been that much fun. But I was running him down be-cause I could see him burning his right rear up driving harder and harder. His car was too loose. I was able to get there but it was really hard to get past him, it was a lot of fun.”


Ross enjoyed the experience as well. “That was a lot of fun. He got by me on this one, we will get him in the next race. He got underneath me twice and I held him off and then he got on the outside of me going in the corner and I was so slow and sideways on the bottom, he got there and I was pretty much done for and he took it and ran away with it."


Matt dominated the second segment en route to the overall win and the $3,000 first-place check, which is chump change to the NASCAR superstar.


The Kenseths started side-by-side on the fifth row, but Matt, with his extensive knowledge of the MIS half mile, diced his way to the front. He passed Chad Stevens to take the lead with 22 laps remaining and pulled away to an easy 3.456-second victory over Nathan Opplinger.


Stevens finished third with John Baumeister Jr. in fourth and Jeremy Miller in fifth.


“It was a lot of fun and our car was really good, we made some good adjustments and this Pathfinder Chassis rolled around the bottom of the corner like nobody's business,” Matt said in victory lane after the race.


Ross had won two Big Eight Series feature races at MIS earlier this season and had hoped to pull an upset against his father on Sunday.


He came close, but those hopes never materialized.


The son will have to wait for another chance to beat his father.


FINAL RESULTS

50-Lap Feature No. 1—1 .Matt Kenseth (Cambridge); 2. Ross Kenseth (Spring Valley, Ill.); 3. Bobby Wilberg (Beloit); 4. Nathan Haseleu (Pardeeville); 5. Jeremy Miller (Rockton, Ill.); 6. Dave Feiler (Sun Prairie); 7. John Baumeister Jr. (Lake Geneva); 8. Nathan Oppliger (Oregon); 9. Chad Stevens (Orfordville); 10. Michael Bachaus (Milton);11. Ryan Miles (Crystal Lake, Ill.); 12. Kevin Knuese (Waukesha); 13. Scott Broughton (Stoughton); 14. Ryan Goldade (Stoughton); 15. Tyler Kelley (Oregon); 16. Brady Liddle (Oregon); 17. John Ovadal Jr. (Watertown); 18. Kyle Shear (Roscoe, Ill.); 19. Jimmy Ganski (Rosholt); 20. Zack Riddle (Brooklyn); 21. Jason Hicks (Elkhorn); 22. Cliff Rucks (Deerfield).


50-Lap Feature No. 2—1. M. Kenseth; 2. Oppliger; 3. Stevens; 4. Baumeister Jr.; 5. Miller; 6. R. Kenseth; 7. Broughton; 8. Wilberg; 9. Feiler; 10. Haseleu; 11. Hicks; 12. Goldade; 13. Liddle; 14. Bachaus; 15. Miles; 16. Ovadal Jr.; 17. Ganski; 18. Shear; 19.Riddle; 20. Rucks; 21. Kelley; 22. Knuese.


12-Lap Last Chance Race No. 1: Liddle; 2. Goldade; 3. Ovadal Jr.; 4. Andy Evraets (Hartland); 5. Corey Funk (Slinger: 6. Rusty Hansen (Sun Prairie); 7. Paul Edmundson (Whitewater); 8. Mackenzie Piller (Amboy, Ill.); 9. Bruce Lee (Cambridge); 10. Jesse Oudenhoven (Freedom); 11. Steven Schulz (West Bend): 12. Jake Finney (Sycamore).


12-Lap Last Chance Race No. 2: 1. Shear; 2.Rucks; 3. Ganski; 4. Shayne Poehnelt (Sun Prairie); 5. Steve Litchfeld (Pardeeville); 6. Mike Storkson (Evansville); 7. Brad Becker (Elkhorn); 8. Alex Jones (Middleton); 9. Derek Childs (Poynette).


Fast qualifier: Wilberg.



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