Star-Studded Entry List Headed to 43rd Slinger Nationals
Jul 6, 2022
For Matt Kenseth, the next three weeks in the Superstar Racing Experience isn’t about racing against his fellow Cup Series legends but rather, the high-level drivers he never got a chance to turn a lap against until Saturday night at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Ernie Francis Jr.
It’s kind of a throwback to his days running the International Race Of Champions four times a year during the peak of his NASCAR tenure.
"I always enjoyed running those races because you could run against guys you don't see anywhere else," Kenseth said. "At the same time, it's cool to come back and race against Ryan (Newman) and Greg (Biffle), Tony (Stewart) and the guys you're familiar with, but it's kind of more fun to race against those you're not familiar with and who have had a lot of success.
"I thought it was the coolest thing ever to race against Steve Kinser in between winning all those Sprint Car races and how successful he was, and how good he was, so that's the more intriguing part to me."
When Kenseth unloads at the Fairgrounds, it will mean returning to a track he made several starts in while racing in the NASCAR Busch Series for Robbie Reiser. But what comes next is new territory at Federated Auto Parts I-55 Raceway and Sharon Speedway.
In fact, has Kenseth ever raced on dirt before?
"Not until I run those two," Kenseth said. "I've never run on dirt."
Well, actually, there is one major caveat.
"The only dirt I've done was the Prelude to the Dream that Tony did at Eldora," Kenseth added. "I did that a few times. We tried to race but that was an exhibition. It's not like I was trying to run the World 100. I've never really run a real race on dirt and it's always intrigued me after running the Dirt Late Model at Eldora. That was so much fun and wish I had done more of it in my career so why not now?"
Kenseth has also entered the Slinger Nationals on Saturday at Slinger Super Speedway in his familiar No. 8 Super Late Model.
Is that enough to scratch the competitive itch for the 2003 Cup Series champion?
"We'll see when this month is over, it might be more than enough, I don't know," Kenseth said with a laugh.
What Kenseth knows for sure is that he has no regrets about the final years of his Cup Series tenure and doesn’t miss being on the road one bit.
"We just finished up our six-week family vacation and got home a few days ago so I am looking forward to running these three races, the Slinger Nationals, and I'm not looking forward to a full-time schedule again," Kenseth said.
"I think this is going to be competitive. I think it's going to be fun. I think I'm going to need to bring my A-game against these guys and you see that on TV with how hard they race. It's definitely not staged. They're racing really hard and it will be fun to get in there and challenge myself and see how I can do."