Matt Kenseth's NASCAR Cup career in pictures

Matt Kenseth is making his 650th and presumably final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Matt Kenseth's NASCAR Cup career in pictures

Becoming a Cup driver

Becoming a Cup driver
1/23

Photo by: Robert Kurtycz

Matt Kenseth ran a handful of races between 1998 and 1999 before entering the Cup Series full-time in 2000 in the No. 17 Jack Roush-owned DeWalt Ford.

First victory

First victory
2/23
Kenseth's maiden win came in one of NASCAR's crown jewel -- the Coca Cola 600.

Rise to stardom

Rise to stardom
3/23

Photo by: Autostock

Although Kenseth experienced a lackluster 2001 season, he returned with a vengeance in 2002. In just his third full-time season, he won five races and ended the season eighth in the standings.

'Killer Bees'

'Killer Bees'
4/23

Photo by: Autostock

Kenseth wasn't the only one turning heads on the No. 17 team. Throughout the mid-2000s, his blistering fast pit crew earned the nickname 'Killer Bee's for their performance on pit road.

Points racing

Points racing
5/23

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

Pictured above is Kenseth's lone victory from the 2003 season, coming in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But looking at the big picture meant that one win was just enough...

Final Winston Cup champion

Final Winston Cup champion
6/23

Photo by: Autostock

Later that same season, he secured his one and only Cup title. His season of consistency allowed him to prevail over drivers who were winning far more, including Ryan Newman (who won eight times). Because of this, NASCAR implemented the 'Chase' system the following season.

All-Star status

All-Star status
7/23

Photo by: Autostock

In 2004, Kenseth won NASCAR's annual All-Star exhibition race, defeating some of the best the sport had to offer at the time.

The inaugural Chase field

The inaugural Chase field
8/23

Photo by: Autostock

Matt Kenseth was one of ten drivers who became part of the first ever Chase for the Cup in 2004.

From original young gun to veteran

From original young gun to veteran
9/23

Photo by: Tony Johns

By the mid-2000s, Kenseth had won over a dozen races and battled for multiple championships, leading the way four the Roush team on a weekly basis.

Battling for second championship

Battling for second championship
10/23

Photo by: Autostock

Kenseth has had several opportunities to win a second championship, but in 2006, it seemed he may do it. But the driver he needed to beat? Jimmie Johnson, who was looking for his first title. Needless to say, Kenseth fell just short of the crown.

Praying for rain

Praying for rain
11/23

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

On Lap 152 of 200 in the 2009 Daytona 500, the race was stopped due to rain. At the time, Matt Kenseth -- who had led just seven laps -- found himself out front.

Daytona 500 champion

Daytona 500 champion
12/23

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

Ultimately, the race was called due to the inclement weather and Kenseth was names the 2009 winner of the Daytona 500. It marked the first time team owner Jack Roush won 'The Great American Race.'

Joining an elite group

Joining an elite group
13/23

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Matt Kenseth became one of just eleven drivers to win multiple Daytona 500s, winning one of the strangest 500s in history in 2012.

The next chapter

The next chapter
14/23

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Despite spending his entire Cup career driving from Jack Roush, Kenseth made the bold decision to leave the nest and have a fresh start at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013. And oh did it pay off...

The man to beat

The man to beat
15/23

Photo by: Getty Images

In his first season with JGR, Kenseth lit up the NASCAR circuit with a career-high seven victories and over 1,700 laps led. Despite tremendous success, he still fell one spot short of the championship, coming just 19 points short.

Logano feud

Logano feud
16/23

Photo by: NASCAR Media

In 2015, Kenseth was once again a real threat for the title. He won five races, but faced elimination from the championship fight unless he won. Well, he was on his way to doing just that at Kansas before Joey Logano put the bumper to him, spinning him around.

Payback

Payback
17/23

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

At Martinsville Speedway a couple weeks later, Kenseth was damaged and running multiple laps down. When race leader Joey Logano came around to lap him, Kenseth plowed him into the wall, ultimately eliminating him from title contention.

A controversial decision

A controversial decision
18/23

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Kenseth gained a lot of fans when he took out Logano and some saw it as the just thing to do, However, NASCAR saw it another way and parked Kenseth for two of the final three races of the season.

Going out on top

Going out on top
19/23

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

In 2017, it was announced that he would be replaced in the No. 20 car by up-and-comer Erik Jones. With no competitive options available, Kenseth has chosen to step away. But before he does, he made a point to remind everyone that he is still a very capable racer. In the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix Raceway, he passed Chase Elliott late in the race to take the checkered flag in one of the most emotional moments of his career.

39th career win

39th career win
20/23

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Few drivers get to go out on their own terms, but even fewer get to go out on top. And after his Phoenix triumph, Kenseth has one more chance to do it again and collect a milestone 40th career win before hanging up the helmet.

Throwback

Throwback
21/23

Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

For his final start at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kenseth is running a color scheme reminiscent of his original ride behind the wheel of the No. 17 DeWalt

Together from the start

Together from the start
22/23

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Matt Kenseth isn't the only driver stepping away from Cup competition after this weekend. Dale Jr. entered the Cup Series at the same time as Kenseth and now, it appears they will end their careers together.

A Hall of Fame career

A Hall of Fame career
23/23

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

Matt Kenseth will presumably end his career with 650 starts, 39 career wins (including two Daytona 500s) , over 11,000 laps led and the 2003 MENCS championship. His stats are easily enough to ensure him a place in NASCAR's Hall of Fame one day soon.
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