Clemson's fastest student

by - Senior Writer -
Ross with his father current NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth. Photos courtesy of Generation 3 Motorsports.

Sammy Watkins might be Clemson's fastest football player, but Ross Kenseth is Clemson's fastest student.

Kenseth, the son of 2003 Sprint Cup champion and current NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth, is currently studying mechanical engineering at Clemson University, but is earning a solid reputation on short tracks in his quest to be a driver on one of the major circuits.

Last July, Kenseth won the Redbud 300 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway, and late in the season he was victorious in the All American 400 (Fairgrounds Speedway, Nashville) and in the Winchester (Ind.) 400, besting NASCAR veteran Kyle Busch in both events.

Kenseth said he wound up at Clemson after moving to North Carolina to be with his father and started looking at engineering schools.

“My dad lives in North Carolina, and I moved down there with him,” Kenseth told TigerNet this week. “When I was looking at schools, it was between N.C. State and Clemson. I visited here and walked around the campus, and I just liked it here a lot better. I decided to just go from there and attend Clemson.”

Following his arrival at Clemson, Kenseth found out he liked college football.

“I wasn’t a big college football guy until I went to college,” he said. “Growing up, I never really watched Wisconsin or anything like that. I was always a [Chicago] Bears fan. The first Clemson game I went to was the Florida St. game two years ago. It was really cool. The game was packed, and it’s amazing to see how packed the stadium is and how much support they get.”

The younger Kenseth is planning on running in a few different series this season as his team looks for sponsors.

“My first race will be in a few weeks. We are going down to South Alabama he said. “Right now, we are going to run in four or five different races and run in four or five different series. We really aren’t running in just one full time. Right now, it’s all about sponsorship, as it always is. If I could get a sponsor and get a ride in one of the top series I would take it in a heartbeat. That has always been my dream. But money is a little tight and rides are at a premium right now. It’s tough to get if you don’t have the backing.”

Kenseth said that trying to juggle schoolwork – especially one with a demanding major like engineering – and racing takes up the majority of his time.

“It’s tough. On race weekends I am gone for three or four days,” he said. “I am usually gone from Thursday or Friday to Saturday or Sunday, depending on where it is and how big the race is. I try to do my best on getting my schoolwork done during the week and then concentrate on racing during the weekends. It makes the schedule pretty full.”

In the meantime, he will continue his studies in learning the ins-and-outs of building racecars as well as driving them.

“Next semester and next year will be more in-depth, and I will learn more,” he said. “If I can’t secure a job as a driver I want to be involved somehow. It’s been a huge part of my life for the last 14 years and I want to stay a part of that.”

He finished by saying he would love to see both his natural family and his adopted Clemson family walk away with championships in 2013.

“I think Clemson has a pretty good chance,” he said. “They have the kind of schedule that will allow them to compete. My dad has a new team at Joe Gibbs Racing. He has new equipment and I think he has a great chance. For me, I feel like we can go out and compete in some high-caliber races, some races that I want to knock off my list this year.”

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