KENSETH WINS SIDE-BY-SIDE DUEL WITH BREESE IN ASA LM OPENER
Fans Gypped By Rain Showers That Cut The Race Short by Jeremy Troiano
“Fun” was the key word on Saturday night in Madison (WI). Everyone seemed to have fun. Matt Kenseth had fun. Ron Breese Jr. had fun.
The thousands of fans had that came to see Kenseth run and run well had fun. The thousands of fans that came to see great racing had fun.
several late restarts charges from Breese to hold on to the victory before the rains came.
The two former track champions, who battled closely for the track title in 1995, raced side-by-side lap after lap, trading the lead by less than a nose amidst cautions flags that always put them back in order of the previous lap. On two occasions during their battle, Kenseth nosed ahead at the line, but was moved back to second during a caution period, as the ASA LM Series reverted back to the last completed lap.
The whole time, as light rain started to come in, both drivers knew their time was limited. Finally Kenseth led two laps in a row (each by less than one foot) while trying to get around Breese on the inside, caught a caution and was moved to the front of the field. Kenseth then held off two restart runs by Breese before the rains finally came and the ASA officials called the event short.
“I thought it was 1995 again,” said Breese, who has won this year at Madison with his ASA LM in their local class. “You don’t get racing like that too much anymore. We came in second, but I’ll tell you what, that was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. We took second to the Winston Cup champion. That is a good night for us.”
“It was a lot of fun and Ron is a great guy you can race with,” said Kenseth. “That year (1995) we were racing for the championship and he ended up winning it. We had great races all year long. We both had a lot of wins. It was fun racing him again. It was just like old times.”
It was an ironic win for Kenseth, who raced with the ASA National Tour on-and-off for a couple of years, but never won a race before moving to the Busch Series.
Everyone, even the third-place running Todd Kluever, had fun watching the great side-by-side duel between Kenseth and Breese in the American Speed Association Late Model Series opener at Madison International Speedway.
Heavy rain showers in the area was the only thing that cut the fun short, stopping the race after just 75 of the scheduled 100 laps.
In the end, Kenseth, the defending NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion and the night’s fast qualifier, was able to take the win, passing Breese on lap 73 and holding of charges off of
Plenty of fans came to see Matt Kenseth try and win his first ASA race.
Kenseth outlasted Breese to win the ASA LM opener at Madison.
“I’ve always wanted to win an ASA race and write my name in their records books, so I’ll take it even if it is just the Late Model Series. Our car was good and the tires were good. It was a great night.
“It is a lot of fun when you came come out and just race for fun and not have to worry about points and the pressure. Whenever you are racing, you want to be competitive and win. That is all it is about, and that is fun and we showed that tonight.”
Even ASA regular Todd Kluever thought he had something for the leaders had the race been able to run its scheduled distance.
With 25 more laps, it is anyone’s guess as what might have happened had the race went green until the end.
“I don’t know if we had anything for him,” added Breese. “We both had pretty good cars. It would have been a great race. I got under him a couple of times but got caught by cautions.
“It’s hard to get by when you are pinching it down in the corners here. That is the same problem that he was having when he was trying to get by me.
“Matt Kenseth and I grew up at this track. It’s funny that it comes down to the same deal that is was years ago. He has accomplished so much over his career. But when it comes down to it, it’s just two drivers and two cars out there driving for the win.”
Former Madison track champs Breese and Kenseth hug after a great battle.
“We were just biding out time,” said Kluever. “With as much as those guys were running side-by-side, they might have made a slip up at one time. Who knows. We were catching them though. It was a lot of fun. Had our car been better, we would have been the car to beat by far.
“It was pretty fun watching them.”
Craftsman Truck Series driver Travis Kvapil was a force early in the race, but fell out just 20 laps in with ignition problems.