ASA Midwest Tour/CRA
Bloodlines run deep in sports. A winning father often spawns a winning child. It’s just genetics. That can’t be argued with nor can it be denied. Former NFL star Archie Manning gave the NFL world two #1 Draft picks in Peyton and Eli. In racing, 1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Bill Elliott gave the racing world the 2010 Short Track Draft #1 pick, Chase Elliott.
Now, another champion father has produced the #1 selection in the Draft. For the second-straight year, a second-generation racecar driver tops the list. Seventeen-year-old Ross Kenseth, a regular Super Late Model competitor in the ASA Midwest Tour and CRA Super Series and son of 2003 NASCAR Cup Champ Matt, is the Speed51.com panelists’ vote as the #1 Draft pick in the 2011 Short Track Draft, presented by Hedman Husler Hedders.
Just like Chase Elliott a year ago, Ross Kenseth has been breaking out of the shadow set by a champion father to make a name for himself in the racing ranks. Kenseth started his winning ways by earning the 2009 Big 8 Series Late Model Championship.
NFL Draftees raise their stock the most in the postseason bowl games, the pinnacle of the season, and that’s just what Kenseth did in the biggest late-season Super Late Model race of the year in 2010, the Snowball Derby. First he qualified on the outside of the front row in 2009. Then he had arguably the strongest car of all the contenders late in the race, only to not end up in victory lane after a late-race crash in 2010. Still, being in contention in the Snowball Derby proved that Kenseth was a legit contender for the #1 Draft pick.
Those performances did not go unnoticed by the scouts, as Kenseth was voted as the #3 pick in the 2010 Short Track Draft.
Kenseth continued making good on that hype and raised his stock with more wins in the 2010 season, including a CRA Super Series feature victory on the high banks of Winchester Speedway in Indiana. Showing that he wasn’t afraid to leave his Midwestern roots, Kenseth competed in the tough Southeastern Super Late Model scene, finishing second in the North-South Shootout CRA SLM event at Concord (NC).
To top it all off, Kenseth won the ASA Midwest Tour season opener at Madison International Speedway (WI) just a couple days ago.
Cam Newton, the #1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft, will start his professional football career with the Carolina Panthers, a team who nearly lost every game of the 2010 season. Newton is coming off a tumultuous career that included a Heisman Trophy and allegations of his father receiving money for Cam to play football at Auburn. Luckily for Kenseth, his father Matt is anything but a troublemaker. With his connections, Matt Kenseth could have rushed his son into a higher level, perhaps K&N East, West or ARCA short track racing at age 16 or 17, but young Ross is being groomed on the short tracks. When the time is right for a move up, there will be opportunities waiting for him.
But as all football players and racecar drivers do, there were some negatives to Kenseth’s “game” that were considered by voters. A carburetor infraction disqualified him from a second-place finish in the World Crown 300 last Fall at Gresham Motorsports Park (GA). Still, Kenseth garnered four first-place votes by our 40 member panel and appeared on 38 of the 40 ballots. He was on 25 voters’ top-10 choices and 36 of the top-20’s.
For being the #1 Draft Pick in 2011, Kenseth will be awarded a $200 product certificate from Speed51.com’s Short Track Draft Presenting Sponsor, Hedman Husler Hedders.
The remainder of the top-10 Draft picks will be announced on Friday evening. Then, next week, positions 11 through 51 will be announced on Speed51.com.