Matt Kenseth always felt his career success wasn't based solely on raw talent, so being named to NASCAR's 75 greatest drivers list does mean something.
"It's an exclusive list," Kenseth says. "It doesn't, again I'll tell you the same thing I told you around the Hall of Fame stuff. I don't really feel like I belong on that list. When you look at it, there's a lot of people excluded on that list that. I think are better drivers than I ever was but I definitely cashed in on the good fortune of having people like Robbie Reiser."
Now the Cambridge, Wisconsin native is both in the top 75 drivers and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
"They both mean a ton to me," Kenseth says. "I think certainly the 75 list, people are trying to look more at driver talent. So from an individual accomplishment? I think it probably means more to be on the 75 list but certainly from a team aspect and everything you're able to accomplish through your career. It kind of means more to be in the Hall of Fame."
These days, Kenseth is coming back to compete in the Slinger Nationals. And doing marathons seems to have found the fountain of youth.
"I don't feel like that Lance, I really don't," Kenseth says. "Physically I'm in pretty good shape right now. A friend of mine told me, which I guess is a Clint Eastwood quote or something, but you never let the old man in. But I've been fighting the age thing for the last decade or so."
Now he watches the Wisconsin racing scene from his home in North Carolina, including the revived Milwaukee Mile.
"I think it's great to get race cars and vehicles back out there and back racing at such a historic race track," Kenseth says. "I remember the first time I raced there. I raced a late model there and it felt like you're at Daytona or something. It felt so big compared to anything else you ever raced on. So it's a great race track."
And in retirement, he hopes the next generation is raised like him.
"Going out to the race track as a kid? You know your parents would bring you out there," Kenseth says. "My uncles raced. My dad ended up starting racing eventually. My cousin raced. That's kind of how I fell in love with racing, and once you get bit by the bug and you fall in love with it, you're kind of hooked for life."
Kenseth isn't the only former or current NASCAR champion in the field. 2020 Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott also racing/ NASCAR drivers William Byron and Erik Jones are set to compete.