Kenseth's Winning No. 17 Inducted Into Daytona 500 Experience DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The victory celebration of the 51st annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race continued Monday morning as Matt Kenseth's No. 17 DeWalt Ford...
Kenseth's Winning No. 17 Inducted Into Daytona 500 Experience
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The victory celebration of the 51st annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race continued Monday morning as Matt Kenseth's No. 17 DeWalt Ford was inducted into the Daytona 500 Experience -- the Official Attraction of NASCAR --during the annual ConAgra Champion's Breakfast.
Kenseth, owner Jack Roush and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer participated in a fan forum inside the attraction and received their winning Daytona 500 leather jackets from Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig.
The three were joined by the rest of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing crew to continue the tradition of signing the car, which will be on display inside the attraction until the 52nd annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 14, 2010.
Kenseth, who earned Roush his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in 2003, was able to deliver Roush his first Daytona 500 victory -- a feat that has eluded the multi-team owner for over 20 years.
"To win the 500 is really cool," said Kenseth, who also unveiled the logo for next year's Daytona 500 to the media attending the event. "It's pretty cool that the 17 group and team that Jack and Robbie (Reiser, former crew chief, current GM of Roush Fenway Racing) assembled was able to win that first championship and first Daytona 500."
"The first 14 times that I came to Daytona for road racing I always took a trophy home -- every time," said Roush, referring to his Rolex 24 success. "As we started coming with the Cup cars and it didn't happen right away, I kind of put it out of my mind and decided that I was snake-bit -- that I had already had more success than I deserved and I would be denied this one."
Even though "The Great American Race" was shortened to 152 of the 200 laps due to rain, the win was a popular one among the other teams.
"As the cars had started to come off the track, every single car -- regardless of manufacturer, regardless of team affiliation -- congratulated me on behalf of what Matt had done," Roush said. "It was a humbling experience because I felt had the race ended and I was on the other end of that circumstance, I probably wouldn't have been as generous and congratulatory as my peers were."
Not wanting to jinx his chances of a victory, Kenseth was not prepared for this week's whirlwind media tour in New York City and California. He had to fly back home after last night's race to pack before returning to Daytona for this morning's celebration.
"I wasn't prepared for it kind of on purpose," Kenseth said. "One year I was thinking, 'They take you all these places, don't want you to go home afterwards, you're gone all week -- so I'll bring some extra clothes.' That was my worst 500 I think we've ever had.
"I told (wife) Katie if it happens and we win, I'll worry about it then. So I had to worry about it last night. They're not going to let us go home until after California, so I needed to go home for a few hours."
Among the media duties Kenseth will perform this week include appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night and Live with Regis and Kelly on Tuesday morning.
"As a kid, I always watched Letterman with my dad," Kenseth said. "Of any TV show I could ever be on, I've always wanted to be on Letterman. The first two times I've been on there we've done the Top 10 list and I've never got to meet him or talk to him. This time I think I get to sit down and talk to him so I'm looking forward to that."
Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.