NASCAR: Matt Kenseth Opens Up About Hall of Fame Nomination

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

For the first time in two years, the NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot has been announced. NASCAR recently revealed the 15 nominees for the Class of 2023, which include names such as Neil Bonnett, Harry Gant, and 2003 NASCAR Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth.

In an interview with NASCAR, Matt Kenseth discussed receiving his first Hall of Fame Nomination. “I’m gonna be honest,” Kenseth begins. “It’s not really something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. Certainly, the longer you’re away from the sport, the less relevant you are and all that kind of stuff. Obviously, you tend to look back a little bit more.”

Despite winning a staggering 39 Cup Series races throughout his NASCAR career, Matt Kenseth says that he rarely allowed himself to savor the moments. “I’d say, throughout my career I always had, sometimes it was a bad habit, sometimes I think it would help me be more successful,” Kenseth said. “But I never really spent much time and looked back.”

“Like I’d enjoy a win or something for that night, maybe the next day, or next couple of days, you know, when you saw your team or did whatever. And then, I just kind of shuffled it out of my head and tried to work on the next one.”

Matt Kenseth Calls NASCAR Hall of Fame Potential ‘Neat’

Matt Kenseth credits his “bad habit” of overlooking his wins to Jack Roush, founder, CEO, and co-owner of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing. “One of the bad qualities I picked up from Jack Roush is that I always let the losses bother me way more than I would enjoy the wins or let them really sink in and sit and bask in those. I spent most of my career doing that, but afterwards, the longer you’re not part of it…”

In the moment, it’s easy to focus more on the negative than the positive of any given situation. As they say, however, hindsight is 20/20. And nowadays, Matt Kenseth allows himself to enjoy the bright spots of his life a little more.

Earlier this year, Kenseth was invited to provide commentary for the WISE Power 400. “It was neat to go to the FOX thing in California and get back to the race track,” the former NASCAR driver said. “It was kind of an honor that they asked me to go do that. And it was fun to go try it one time and get back there and see everybody and kind of be part of that.”

As for his potential place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Matt Kenseth is somewhat less elated than you might expect. But we’ll chalk it up to modesty. “This is really neat as well,” Kenseth said. “Regardless of what happens with any of this. It’s just neat to be on that list.”