Matt Kenseth’s Dollar General No. 20 Toyota took a hard hit from Dale Earnhardt Jr, who came off the curb right at him, and sent him careening off the track and into a tire barrier at Sonoma Raceway yesterday, ending his bid to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Lap 74. At the time, Kenseth was running 17th in the pack of 43 cars after starting in 14th position. Although he was able to walk away from the crash, it was the first time that he did not finish in 15 starts at the track.
"I knew Dale was on my right side. On restarts, you have to run side-by-side. He got under me going into Turn 7, but I left him plenty of room. We ran through side-by-side earlier too. He just plowed into my right rear and wrecked me so I don't know if he got into the curb and moved his car. I don't know what happened. It really doesn't matter at this point.
Earnhardt Jr. eventually went on to finish 3rd behind Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon. Kenseth ended up 42nd, just ahead of Landon Cassill, who retired after suffering engine problems.
Born in Cambridge, WI on March 10, 1972, Matt Kenseth currently drives full-time in the NASCAR Sprint cup Series and part-time in the Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.began his career running short tracks including the Madison International Speedway, Slinger Super Speedway and Wisconsin International Raceway before moving on tothe ARTGO, American Speed Association, and Hooters Late Model touring series. He later began driving full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series (now Nationwide Series) for his former Wisconsin short track rival Robbie Reiser. He then moved up in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series (later NEXTEL Cup Series and now Sprint Cup Series after finishing 2nd and 3rd in the standings, winning the series' Rookie of the Year title in 2000 and 2003 championship.
Other career milestones include winning the 2000 Coca Cola 600; being named IROC champion in 2004; as well as capturing the win in the 2004 NEXTEL All Star Challenge; winning the Daytona 500 in 2009 and 2012; taking the 2013 Southern 500; and winning the Budweiser Duel in both 2012 and 2014. Kenseth currently drives full-time in the NASCAR Sprint cup Series and part-time in the Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.