Throwback Thursday: Matt Kenseth holds off Tony Stewart at Rockingham

Image courtesy of @tonystewartntn.

There’s no Sprint Cup race this week, so I decided to go into the way-back machine. What I found was perfect for this weekend because it made sense on so many levels.

Back in 1998, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart were still looking to make a name for themselves in NASCAR. Both were one year away from getting their big breaks with Stewart starting a full-time schedule in 1999 while Kenseth ran part time for Roush that next year.

Instead of battling it out in the Winston Cup at the time, they were at the Busch Series level in the Goodwrench Service 200. Kenseth didn’t even have a primary sponsor with Reiser Racing, but gave Stewart everything he had on the final three laps.

The two drivers who have now combined for four championships put on a show in the now defunct Rockingham Speedway. It was a race that not only helped put both drivers’ names on the map, but also earned them grow their now rabid fan bases.

Matt and Ross Kenseth will be on hand for the Chicagoland race on Saturday. It will be Ross' first Xfinity race. Image courtesy of @NASCARONFOX.

Matt and Ross Kenseth will be on hand for the Chicagoland race on Saturday. It will be Ross’ first Xfinity race. Image courtesy of @NASCARONFOX.

Ironically enough, this weekend there will be another Kenseth on the track at the Xfinity level. Ross Kenseth, Matt’s son, is scheduled to make his first Xfinity start on Saturday in Chicagoland. It’s a Father’s Day treat for Matt, who will have the weekend off to spend with his talented son.

No, Tony Stewart won’t be on the track and he doesn’t have a spawn set to race. But with the Chicagoland race being the featured race of the weekend, Ross now has a chance to do exactly what his father did. Only this time it will be against the likes of Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Ty Dillon—sons or grandsons of some of the best NASCAR has to offer.

 

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