Eight months removed from making his return behind the wheel at Five Flags Speedway, Ross Kenseth will reunite with an old friend for Friday’s Blizzard Series opener at the Pensacola. The son of former NASCAR Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth will join Carswell Motorsports to kick off the road to the 54th Annual Snowball Derby, also marking the team’s return to racing after over a year away from the track.
Kenseth joined Carswell Motorsports for the second half of the 2015 season after Daniel Hemric left to chase after NASCAR aspirations. He put the No. 98 on the pole for the Redbud 400 in their first race together before mechanical issues ended their race early.
Their most recent race together came at Winchester Speedway during the World Stock Car Festival in September 2015, finishing eighth that afternoon. After five and a half years since that event, Kenseth and Carswell are back together for the Blizzard Series opener this weekend.
“It should be really fun, I’m looking forward to it. The car they have now is newer than the one I drove when I was with them. I know Jake (Carswell) and them are excited to get back into it after taking a little break there,” Kenseth told Speed51. “When we ran with them last time, I think we were second at Pensacola, I feel like we have a decent history there so hopefully we can pick up where we left off and have a good run."
After five years away from racing, Kenseth made his return behind the wheel for the Blizzard Series finale and the Snowball Derby driving for family friend Jim Weber. He finished seventh in his return before qualifying into the Derby on time and finishing 23rd.
It’s also been some time since Carswell Motorsports has been seen at the track. The blue No. 98 was one of the cars to beat in the first half of the 2010’s, winning the inaugural Southern Super Series championship in 2013 and winning the Redbud 300 the next year with Daniel Hemric. The team last competed in the 2019 All American 400 with Cole Williams behind the wheel.
With two races now under his belt since returning to the sport, Kenseth enters Friday night’s race with more confidence.
“I think with the Blizzard Finale, I hadn’t done it in a while, is it going to be the same? I think on my end, I felt like it was. We didn’t quite have the run at the Derby that we expected but the practices and even how the race played out. With both races last year, we started out really bad and were able to make adjustments and get the car better to where we ended up sixth.
It was cool to see the progression, it’s definitely a little confidence boost going into Friday night knowing that if we can get the car to feel the way I’m used to having the car feel, we can compete with these guys.
The deal with Carswell is currently a one-off opportunity, with the possibility that more races could be added. With that said, he looks to make that one race a successful one.
“Hopefully we win the race, but a successful trip would be going out there and finishing better than we qualified and keep it in one piece. Hopefully we’re somewhere near the front.”
Race fans unable to make the trip to Pensacola, Florida on Friday night will be able to watch the race via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo