Matt Kenseth was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2023 alongside driver Hershel McGriff and Dale Sr.’s crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine at Charlotte.
The Joe Gibbs Racing and RFK Racing legend has won all there is to win at NASCAR. He has recorded wins in Daytona 500, Southern 500, Coco-Cola 600, and the All-Star Race, along with winning the 2003 NASCAR Cup Series title.
After the induction, Kenseth said:
“I always looked at my career as a ladder – you always start at the bottom, and you hope to climb to the top. My ladder has hundreds and hundreds of rungs on it. And without any of them, bottom, middle or top – no matter how you fit in my life – I wouldn’t be here without any of you. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all.”
Given his accolades, it seems only right that the legendary driver is inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. However, not all agree with the recognition he is getting from NASCAR. This is mainly because he just won one race in the year he won the championship.
As the most boring champion who forced the playoffs on the world of Nascar
— FastDad (@Stigdad1) January 21, 2023
Yall gave him the boot when he still had winning to do.
— David Saurers (@rodlongstaff) January 20, 2023
The day can't come soon enough when the ol jgr group is once was in nascar
— Larry LaRue (@LarryLaRue13) January 20, 2023
How did win a single race that season. And I would say Earnhardt’s death ultimately caused the COT
— Fraser (@FraserJ53) January 21, 2023
70% of nascar fans will always remember him for what he did to Logano at Martinsville and not what he’s done in his whole entire career.
— Nathan Schneider Racing (@NtnSndrRacing) January 20, 2023
The last real NASCAR champion
— Tyler (@t_sholts) January 21, 2023
So, how was he able to win the championship with just a race win? It’s because NASCAR determined the champion the full 36-race schedule. And Kenseth won by 90 points over Jimmie Johnson. He didn’t have to win many races. He just had to be consistent throughout the season, which he was.
NASCAR introduced the playoffs format right next season to Kenseth’s championship win, making him a scapegoat for such change.