Roush Fenway Racing press release
NASCAR Media Tabs Matt Kenseth’s 2003 Cup Championship as Top Roush Fenway “Winning” Moment
Kenseth, No. 17 team dominated 2003, leading 33 straight weeks and winning Championship by 90 points
CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 7, 2012) – The NASCAR media named Matt Kenseth’s 2003 NASCAR Cup Championship as the top moment in Roush Fenway’s “25 Winning Years.” The 2003 Championship won the vote, much in the same fashion as Kenseth meticulously dominated the 2003 season, receiving almost 50 percent of the vote. As part of the launch of Roush Fenway’s “25 Winning Years” program, media were asked to vote for the team’s top moment at its stop last week on the annual NASCAR media tour at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
On display at the event were over 50 trophies from Roush Fenway’s 299 wins, including a trophy set as the centerpiece of each of the 25 tables at the venue.
“We have had a lot of big moments over the past 24 years,” said team co-owner Jack Roush, who founded the team in 1988. “Matt Kenseth winning our first Cup championship in 2003 ranks up there for sure.
“It took us 15 years and a lot of battles from the time we got started to get to the top of that mountain. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that we’d ever win a Cup title and I had pretty much given up on thinking we might win a Championship; we had missed it in so many close calls with Mark (Martin).”
Roush Fenway finished second on four occasions prior to that season, but Roush and Kenseth finally broke through in 2003. The No. 17 team, then led by current Roush Fenway general manager Robbie Resier, clinched the title one week before the season’s end at Rockingham and took home the sport’s top honor by a resounding 90 points.
Kenseth won early in the season at Las Vegas and grabbed the points lead with a fourth-place finish the next week in Atlanta. He and the team never looked back; leading the standings for the remaining 33 weeks of the season; setting a modern-era record for most weeks at the top of the standings. The season was a show of unprecedented consistency, with the team spending 35 of 36 weeks inside the top 10; finishing the season with one win, 11 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes.
NASCAR changed the point system and moved to the “Chase” format the following season.
Roush Fenway is the last team to win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship under the old point system and a year later became the first team to win under the “Chase” system with Kurt Busch hoisting the inaugural Nextel Cup trophy in 2004.
Busch’s 2004 championship along with Kenseth’s 2009 Daytona 500 win, Biffle’s 2000 Truck Series Championship (Roush Fenway’s first) and Mark Martin’s 1989 win at Rockingham (the team’s first) all received several votes in the poll.