Kenseth's highlights at BMS
Last week, Matt Kenseth announced that he would be stepping away from racing for the 2018 season. His plans currently remain unknown for the future, but the 2003 NASCAR Cup Series champion has not ruled out a return.
Numbers-wise, Kenseth is one of the true gladiators of The Last Great Colosseum over the past 17 years. He owns four career wins (his most at any track on the circuit), two pole positions, finished in the Top 10 22 times in 36 starts and led more laps at Bristol (1,583) than any other facility. Not only that, but both races where he won the pole, he also took home the race victory. Those are impressive statistics no matter who you put them up against.
With Kenseth's success, let's take a look at some of his highlights at The World's Fastest Half-Mile:
1. Kenseth Wins The 2013 Night Race: While Kenseth had previously won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race twice his 2013 victory featured one of the most exciting finishes in BMS history. The Wisconsin native looked to hold off a hard-charging Kasey Kahne, who was looking to sweep the '13 Bristol Cup races. Despite older tires and a slower car, Kenseth used extreme car control and grit to hold off the Hendrick Motorsports driver. Tensions ran high when Kahne attempted to bump the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing machine out of the way, but Kenseth was able to evade the maneuver and take home the checkered flag in what would be his third Bristol Cup victory.
2. The Helmet Throw Heard Round The World: The 2012 Night Race will forever be remembered for one of the greatest confrontations in NASCAR history between Kenseth and Tony Stewart. The pair battled for the lead during the opening stages of the race, but the status quo wouldn't last long. The duo tangled and eventually crashed into the outside wall. The incident would become iconic when Stewart tossed his helmet at Kenseth's No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing machine on pit road. The crowd went wild and a new iconic memory was created at The Last Great Colosseum.
3. Kenseth Dominates For His First Bristol Win: Kenseth's overall crowning achievement came in 2003 when he won the Cup Series championship. Just two years later, he would claim his first Bristol victory in dominating style. At the 2005 Night Race, Kenseth started on the pole and never looked back, leading 415 of the 500 laps to win the race, one of the most impressive performances in both BMS history and in Kenseth's career.
4. Kenseth Finally Wins The Food City 500: While he tasted ultimate BMS success throughout his career, Kenseth was always eluded by the Food City 500. That changed in 2015 when he finally took home the checkered flag at the Bristol spring event. Kenseth finished the race in style, holding off NASCAR icons Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon to pick up the win. It was the second time that Kenseth had qualified on the pole at Bristol and in both first place starts, he took the checkered flag first. That's winning in impressive fashion.