Terry Kunes, the owner of Madison (WI) International Speedway, an American Speed Association Member Track, had a smile in his voice when he was asked about last Sunday’s Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth. His relationship with the Kenseth family along with the history the family has had with MIS has helped showed how this ASA Member Track builds champions.
“I feel very fortunate that Matt raced at MIS to help build a foundation for his career,” Kunes recently stated. “Yet today, I am very grateful that he has been willing to continue to support MIS by coming to race at his father’s event every year for the past five years. It’s a testimony to not only him but to his entire family for their commitment to local racing and I have to thank him for being a great example of the kind of racers we have in Wisconsin.”
Matt Kenseth considers MIS to be one of his home tracks that helped him prepare for the successful career he has had in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series by picking up some wins that helped propelled him today. In 1993, he won a 200-lap Wisconsin Short Track Series race in front of a full house that was in attendance to see a 200-lap American Speed Association race as well.
Kenseth ran the entire 1994 track schedule where he won the championship after picking up a record setting 12 feature wins. It was also that year he picked up his first Miller Nationals trophy after a great battle with Rich Bickle Jr. when the Nationals were a two-part event between Slinger Super Speedway and MIS. Last year, he won his fourth Miller Nationals at Slinger.
In 2003, the first year that Kunes owned MIS, Kenseth made a return after a five-year hiatus at MIS to win a 100-lap feature event in front of a packed house. Later that year, he would go on to capture the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship.
He repeated the same feat in 2004 by winning the same 100-lap feature event. But, and this may be an irony, the race was shortened by rain and Kenseth was declared the winner as he was the leader on the last completed lap after he and Ron Breese Jr. were having a great side-by-side battle where the two would trade the lead every lap.
His last win at MIS came in 2007 has he won the First Supply All-Star Challenge event, an event promoted by his father Roy and his RK Race Promotions.
Madison International Speedway can easily live up to the American Speed Association motto of “We Build Champions.” Kenseth is not the only former track champion to go on to win a championship in NASCAR, but the same year that Kenseth won his, Travis Kvapil won the NASCAR Truck Series championship. Kvapil is the 1996 MIS track champion.
Todd Kluever was the 2001 MIS track champion and was the 2005 Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Truck Series.
Last year’s MIS champion Nathan Haseleu was the 2007 American Speed Association Midwest Tour champion, three-time Wisconsin Challenge Series Champion, and also competed in the NASCAR Truck Series.
And if that isn’t enough, Bobby Wilberg has won a total of ten championships at MIS since the track re-opened in 1992. He also has seven championships at Rockford Speedway.
Wilberg’s tenth championship came this past season as he won another Limited Late Model crown. He won the championship by only 34 points over a 15-year-old driver. That driver is Ross Kenseth, the son of the 1994 champion and now the 2009 Daytona 500 champion.
“All I can is WOW when you look at the history books of Madison International Speedway,” Dennis Huth, American Speed Association President stated. “When I first came into promoting our ASA Member Track program, I wanted MIS to be a part of this for the simple reason that they produce champions. Everyone who has competed at MIS has competed at one of the toughest tracks in the United States. But it is also a track that will teach a young driver how to race especially with the veterans like Bobby Wilberg competing alongside of them.”
The 2009 season for Madison International Speedway will begin on Sunday, May 3rd with the American Speed Association Midwest Tour’s Super Late Models as well as the Big 8 Series Limited Late Models.
Their “Friday Night Tradition” gets underway on Friday, May 8th with a new reduced adult ticket price of $9. Their weekly program consists of Limited Late Models, Area Sportsman, Hobby Stocks, Legends and Bandits.
The 2009 Daytona 500 Champion returns with Tony Stewart on Tuesday, June 30th for the Swiss Colony All-Star Challenge. Tickets are on sale now through www.mattkenseth.com.
For more information on Madison International Speedway, please visit their website at www.madisoninternationalspeedway.com.