Ross Kenseth has proved he is the “real deal” over the past few years and now he has something to show for it – the number-one pick title in the 2011 Speed51.com Short Track Draft, Presented by Hedman Husler Hedders. Forty short track experts were given the opportunity to vote in this year’s draft and all but two included Kenseth somewhere in their picks. He garnered four number one picks and 25 top-10 votes on the experts’ ballots, so it is safe to say Ross has turned plenty of heads in short track racing and proven his merit.
Still, Kenseth was a bit stunned to learn that he was number one this year.
“I was really surprised because there were so many talented drivers out there, it was really cool to get that,” said Kenseth. “Darrell Wallace has really been tearing it up in the K&N Series and Ryan Blaney has won a couple PASS races and has been running really well this year too so it was a big honor to be selected ahead of those two for the Draft.”
A review of his last two seasons showed Kenseth had the statistics necessary to earn this honor. A son of a NASCAR driver or not, there is no doubt that he can drive a racecar. In 2009 he was the Big 8 Series champion and qualified second at the prestigious Snowball Derby. 2010 saw numerous exciting wins and near-victory battles for the Illinois teen, including his first victory at Winchester Speedway, a strong run in the Snowball Derby that unfortunately ended in a wreck and a strong third-place finish in the 2010 Rowdy’s Revenge 251.
But a strong 2010 wasn’t the first time that the Short Track Draft panel had recognized Kenseth’s talents. In 2010, he was ranked third and he believes an early victory in 2011 right before the draft was announced helped him take the number one spot.
“I would say between winning the Midwest Tour race right before the draft started, running so well at the Snowball Derby and at Winchester and Gresham we had some really solid runs going for us, so those really were our biggest advantage in this year’s Draft.”
This year will prove to be a big and busy year for Kenseth as he not only tries to win the ASA Midwest championship and other big races like the Snowball Derby and Winchester 400, but he will also graduate from high school and moves down to North Carolina to study mechanical engineering at Clemson.
“We’re running the full ASA Midwest tour and running a few CRA races when we’re not running Midwest Tour races and then at the end of the year we’ll go to Gresham again, then the Snowball Derby and Winchester. Hopefully we can have some better runs down (South) too.”
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