We all have off-season projects that keep us busy until the roar of the engines fill the racetrack again as a springtime ritual all across the county. For those of us in the Southeast, the wait is not as long as the wait for racers in the Midwest and Northeast. Hobbies are needed, as well as other activities, just to keep from going stir-crazy.
In Spring Valley, Illinois there is one well known driver that trades in Nomex for Nikes in the winter months. Ross Kenseth is in the starting five for St. Bede Academy and is quite an accomplished basketball player.
“It is a lot of fun for me,” said Kenseth. “I love to play. I am a very competitive person and I cannot stand to lose at anything. So playing basketball is great and it keeps me in shape.”
Kenseth plays for the Bruins at St. Bede Academy, his high school team, where he is a swing player who provides a solid offensive punch. Already this season, he has logged a 20-point game and he had his career high last season with 24.
“It's a good way to keep me occupied during the offseason,” added Kenseth. “Plus it is always fun to teach my dad a couple lessons in one on one.”
His Dad, former Sprint Cup Series Champion Matt Kenseth, makes a point to attend several games during the off season as well.
The younger Kenseth had an impressive run on the racetracks in 2010 with several victories - including in his first start at Winchester. He also had a few near misses. He led both at the North South Shootout at Concord Speedway (NC) and the World Crown 300 at the Gresham Motorsports Park (GA), but didn't go to victory lane. Hopefully, those experiences will help him become a consistent winner in 2011.
Before he heads back to the track he will spend the next month trying to get his team to the regional finals which happens in late February. Kenseth will take part in SpeedFest late in January, however that race weekend will not interfere with his basketball.
“Yes, basketball really helps the long offseason go by a lot quicker,” said Kenseth. “Racing is most important to me, always has been, and basketball helps me keep in good shape for the racing season.”
Kenseth is a very physical player - having averaged 10 boards a game a season ago and getting selected to the all conference third team.
Some might wonder if Kenseth has a dream of moving to North Carolina to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference or to stay near home and play in the Big Ten?
“I never really thought about playing basketball beyond high school,” said Kenseth. Right now everyone (on the team) is focusing on playing our best and trying to win a regional title.”
A regional title would be like winning a points championship for Kenseth and the St. Bede Academy Bruins. They are well on their way after a huge win over Princeton last Friday night. So the next time you see Ross Kenseth at the track, ask him how his basketball season ended up. He might already have a championship under his belt before the snow melts in Illinois.