As Matt Kenseth does everything to indicate he is done with racing without officially announcing it, the focus turns to what would be a frustrating final season and his legacy. However, Kenseth doesn’t care much about that second point. When The Drive asked Kenseth how he wants to be remembered, his answer was somehow typical yet surprisingly blunt.
“I mean, I don’t…” He said. “I mean, I hate saying I don’t care, it’s not that you don’t care, but you can’t really influence what people think about you, or not think about you. Being successful in a race car is not about winning a popularity contest; sometimes, it’s 100 percent the opposite. So, you know, I think that I did the best I could every week. Sometimes I did things right, sometimes I did things wrong, sometimes I did good, sometimes I did bad–that’s just part of it. But, you know, I gave everything I had every week, and at the time I always try to do what I thought was right and go from there.”
There’s no way he meant the ‘popularity contest’ comment as a dig at Dale Earnhardt Jr., but that is immediately where our minds went. Fans might not like it, but sometimes racing is not about making friends, and Kenseth understood that. About the frustration that could turn out to be his final season in NASCAR, Kenseth noted a difficulty with finishing races strong that ultimately led to underwhelming results.
He was asked what he would like to do over or improve, and said, “I think we could improve the whole season. I mean, I think that, you know, you look at every race weekend, at times you look at every lap and see things you probably could do a little bit better so I would say most of the year was an extremely frustrating year. You know, ever since probably Phoenix in ’16 all the way until Phoenix in ’17 was extremely frustrating. We had a lot of opportunities to go run better or possibly even win if we did everything right–just didn’t really done until Phoenix, so, like I said, I am glad we were able to get that win late, but it was definitely a frustrating season, just hard to finish them off for some reason.”