When he was begging his dad and uncles for a chance to work on their race cars, when he first heard super late models ripping around the big half-mile Madison International Speedway near their home or when he first got the chance to race one of them, Matt Kenseth wasn’t thinking about NASCAR.

Not in that way, anyway.

“I never really felt like it was a realistic dream or anything like that,” Kenseth said, so many years later.

And as for the Hall of Fame, well, NASCAR didn’t even have one of those when Kenseth was growing up in Cambridge, Wisconsin, in the 1980s.

So no, that couldn’t have been a dream either.

But the realities are these:

Kenseth spent most of 24 years driving stock cars at the highest levels. He won a championship and 39 Cup Series races, including two Daytona 500s, as well as another 29 races in NASCAR’s second division now known as the Xfinity Series.

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