Highlights of Matt Kenseth’s NASCAR career

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Matt Kenseth is coming back to drive the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing for the rest of the season.

The future Hall of Famer will look to add to a career that includes the 2003 Cup championship and 39 Cup victories, including a pair of Daytona 500 triumphs.

Here’s a look at some of the landmark events in Kenseth’s NASCAR career.

May 25, 1996 – Makes NASCAR debut in what was called the Busch Grand National Series. He started 37th and finished 31st at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mark Martin won that race. Dick Trickle was second.

Feb. 21, 1998 – Scores first win in what was called the Busch Grand National Series. He chased down Tony Stewart in the final laps at Rockingham. Kenseth gave Stewart’s rear bumper a tap on the last lap, allowing him to get next to Stewart and drag race Stewart to the finish.

Sept. 20, 1998 – Makes first Cup start. Drives in place of Bill Elliott, who misses race at Dover to attend the funeral of his father. Kenseth started 16th and finished sixth in the No. 94 car.

May 28, 2000 – Scores first career Cup victory, winning the Coca-Cola 600. Kenseth joined a list that  includes David Pearson (1961), Jeff Gordon (1994) and Bobby Labonte (1995) as drivers who scored their first career Cup victory with a win in the 600. Kenseth goes on to win Rookie of the Year honors.

Nov. 9, 2003 – His fourth-place finish at Rockingham clinches the Cup title with one race left in the season.

Feb. 22, 2004 – Wins final Cup race at Rockingham, nipping Kasey Kahne at the finish line by 0.01 seconds.

Aug. 27, 2005 – Wins Bristol night race for the first time. He would go on to win the event in 2006 and 2013.

March 26, 2006 – The memorable incident with Jeff Gordon at Bristol. Gordon got Kenseth loose with two laps to go for third place. Kenseth returned the favor on the last lap and Gordon spun. Gordon approached Kenseth on pit road and shoved him after the race.

Feb. 15, 2009 – Scores his first career Daytona 500 victory, leading the final seven laps in the rain-shortened race. He would go on to win the following week at Auto Club Speedway to open the season with wins in the first two races of the year.

Feb. 27, 2012 – Scores his second career Daytona 500 win, beating Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 0.210 seconds in an overtime finish.

June 26, 2012 – Roush Fenway Racing confirms that Kenseth will not return to the team after the season.

Sept. 4, 2012 – Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Kenseth will join the team beginning with the 2013 season.

March 10, 2013 – Wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first of seven Cup wins that season, a career high. He also won at Kansas, the Southern 500 at Darlington, Kentucky, the Bristol night race, Chicagoland and New Hampshire. He would go on to finish second in the points. He also was runner-up in the Cup championship in 2006.

Sept. 27, 2015 – Wins playoff race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his fifth and final win of the season. The New Hampshire victory is Kenseth’s third in a six-race stretch.

Oct. 18, 2015 – Finishes 14th at Kansas in a race he led late before contact with Joey Logano‘s car spun Kenseth.

Nov. 1, 2015 – Wrecks Logano intentionally at Martinsville Speedway in retaliation for Kansas incident.

Nov. 3, 2015 – NASCAR suspends Kenseth two races for wrecking Logano at Martinsville.

July 7, 2017 – Kenseth reveals at a press conference at Kentucky Speedway that “as of today, I do not have a job for next year.”

Nov. 12, 2017 – Kenseth wins at Phoenix Raceway in his next-to-last race with Joe Gibbs Racing.

April 25, 2018 – Roush Fenway Racing announces that Kenseth will return to the team to drive the No. 6 car in select races to help the team improve. He’ll split driving duties with Trevor Bayne.

April 27, 2020 – Chip Ganassi Racing announces that Kenseth will take over the No. 42 car for the rest of the Cup season.