Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

August 21, 2008

Kenseth races hard, no matter what kind of car

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Matt Kenseth, 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, has rightfully earned a reputation as a clean race car driver. However, if you put him behind the wheel of a go-cart and go racing, you'd better strap your teeth in.

On Thursday afternoon Kenseth and members of the local media gathered at Fun Expedition in Johnson City for a “friendly” drive around its curvy “road” course.

The vehicles are completely encircled by a tough rubber frame and when pedal goes to metal, it produces a safe maximum speed. Still, yours truly was just one of several print or electronic media members who felt the forceful front bumper of the No. 17 Dewalt open carriage.

Of course, retaliation was readily forthcoming and Kenseth became a prime target for those who ignored the “No Bumping” stencil on the back of each car. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience, one in which points weren't at stake nor sponsors left wringing their hands.

“I'm not just saying this because you're standing there, but you guys are all so cool, it was hard to find someone to pick on,” said Kenseth, a Wisconsin native and lover of its storied football team, the Green Bay Packers. “I had to find someone who wanted to wreck me so that I could pick on him at every corner.

“You guys can't get me back this weekend, so it was a great time to go about 50 miles per hour and wreck each other. No one got hurt and it was a lot of fun.”

It is not the first time Kenseth has attended the annual Winner's Circle media luncheon, put on by Bristol Motor Speedway. In the past, he has shot skeet and archery at a local Rod and Gun club.

Tony Stewart was the guest of honor one year when the event was held at a downtown billiards parlor. On the docket this year in addition to Kenseth was Wise, Va. native and Packers Hall-of-Fame member Carroll Dale.

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