Kenseth Dominates SLM Race Named After Him In Milwaukee by Dean Strom
Local Drivers Can't Hold Off Nextel Cup Star
Matt Kenseth easily won the All Star 50 featuring Matt Kenseth on Sunday. (Steve Benesh photos)
When your name is in the race title, you are expected to do well and contend for the win. Sunday afternoon at the Milwaukee Mile, as part of the Governors Cup weekend, Matt Kenseth didn’t disappoint as he cruised to victory in the “Wisconsin All-Star 50 with Matt Kenseth” Super Late Model event.
Kenseth flew back to the Milwaukee area, after Saturday night’s Cup race at Bristol, to headline in the Late Model event co-promoted by the Mile and his dad, Roy.
Minnesota short track ace Dean Cornelius started from the front row, after the invert, and set the early pace. Kenseth started eighth after setting a new track record in qualifying (29.241 seconds or 123.114 mph) and wasted no time charging to the front, finding himself in second place by the completion of the eighth circuit.
By that point Cornelius had opened up a half-straightaway advantage. But he couldn’t run and hide from the former Winston Cup Champion. Kenseth quickly hunted Cornelius down and drew even with the 23-year-old as the pair crossed the start finish line to mark the events halfway mark.
And from there no one could stop Kenseth as he pulled away to a five-second victory.
“We were all racing for second place out there,” said Cornelius after the race. “I just tried to save the tires, because I knew Matt was coming, and for awhile there I had a pretty constant 10-car gap. But then he started catching me and I didn’t bother racing him. He definitely had a good car.”
Dan Fredrickson finished third while Jesse Saunders came home fourth in his first visit to the Milwaukee Mile. Jeremy Lepak finished fifth with defending event winner Nathan Haseleu rounding out the top six.
The victory marked Kenseth’s first triumph at the Milwaukee Mile in 12 attempts which included eight in late models and four in NASCAR’s Busch Series. The Cambridge, Wis. native last competed in the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series event at America’s Legendary Oval, finishing second to his current NASCAR teammate Greg Biffle.
“It’s great whenever you can win,” Kenseth stated after the caution-free event. “It’s fun to come here and race against all these guys I used to race against like Steve Carlson, Steve Holzhausen and Nathan Haseleu, and get to race against some of the new guys here.”
Jesse Saunders (#13) jumped at the chance to race at Milwaukee in Charlie Menard's car.
Saunders Builds It And Races It
A couple weeks ago Jesse Saunders was asked if he wanted to wheel Charlie Menards potent super late model in the Wisconsin All-Star 50 at the Milwaukee Mile. Obviously he jumped at the chance and made the most of it Sunday afternoon, finishing fourth in the race that featured former Winston Cup Champion Matt Kenseth.
“It’s hard to turn down something like this,” said Saunders, with a grin. “These guys bring such good equipment to the track. It’s prepared, it’s ready to go, their homework is done and it helps me just go out there and learn the track.”
Saunders was a quick learner, qualifying third quick. Matt Kenseth set fast time and in doing so established a new track record before capturing the win in the 50-lap main event.
But the Saunders story doesn’t end there. Saunders full-time job is to build racecars for Pathfinder Chassis. And Saunders not only helped build the car he wheeled but he also helped build Kenseth’s winning ride.
“It’s fun to see Matt do good because that’s part of me too and then to go out and do it myself is obviously even more exciting.”
Kenseth Wins Two at Milwaukee?
Frank Kimmel's winning ARCA car is an old Matt Kenseth Cup car. It still has the same paint job. (ARCA photo)
The third and final day of the Governors Cup weekend at the Milwaukee Mile featured a 200-lap ARCA RE/MAX Series race as well as the 50-lap “Wisconsin All-Star 50 with Matt Kenseth” super late model race.
Kenseth easily won the 50-lap late model contest while perennial ARCA champion Frank Kimmel prevailed in the big car event.
But as Kimmel circled the historic Milwaukee Mile the astute race observer couldn’t help but think that his ride was painted very similar to a certain successful Ford Cup team. And with good reason.
“We bought the car from Roush-Fenway a couple weeks ago and it immediately turned our speedway program around,” commented Kimmel in his post-race press conference. “Matt Kenseth won with this car, I think at Dover.”
So on a day where Kenseth’s name was in the super late model title, his fingerprints were all over the winning ARCA entry.
Wisconsin All-Star 50 with Matt Kenseth
Milwaukee (Wis) Mile
1. Matt Kenseth
2. Dean Cornelius
3. Dan Fredrickson
4. Jesse Saunders
5. Jeremy Lepak
6. Nathan Haseleu
7. Steve Carlson
8. Steve Holzhausen
9. Josh Bauer
10. Brian Johnson Jr.
11. Dan Lensing
12. Dennis Prunty
13. Frank Kreyer
14. Andy Hanson
15. Mark Eswein
16. Chris Weinkauf
17. Kyle Calmes
18. Brandon Hill
19. Todd Stapleman
20. Eugene Gregorich, Jr.
21. Jacob Humphrey
22. John Meidam
23. Jeff Cannon
24. Brad Keith
25. Gregg Ruffalo
26. Dillon Kralovetz
27. Jay VanderGeest
28. Ben Pettis
29. Dale Prunty
30. Len Nowasel
31. Brett Widdis
32. Eddie Hoffman
33. Don Turner
34. Kelly Bires
35. Dexter Bean
36. Chris Wimmer
37. Jeff Storm