Kenseth facing a big test tonight in the Berlin 251

June 16, 2015
Kenseth facing a big test tonight in the Berlin 251

From Matt Weaver,

MARNE, MI :: Ross Kenseth is trying to make this a June to remember.

Over the weekend, the third-generation driver won his first career ARCA race, out-dueling Grant Enfinger in the Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway. This coming Saturday, Kenseth will make his long-awaited debut in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Chicagoland Speedway for Joe Gibbs Racing.

But before that, Kenseth hopes to keep the momentum rolling in a mid-week event that has given him fits over the years in the Battle at Berlin 251 at Berlin Raceway.

On one hand Kenseth has posted three top-10s in four attempts in the race once dubbed the Kyle Busch Rowdy Race 251. Despite the seeming success, the results have never come easy at Berlin for the 22-year-old, as the circular shape of the Michigan venue has challenged him more than any other circuit.

“Man, it’s just a really tough race track,” Kenseth said. “It’s just a place where the line makes a really big difference. The driver comes into play a lot. The locals there are always real strong — the Campbells and Sennekers of the world. Getting seat time and getting comfortable will be really key.”

With Kenseth in Brooklyn for much of last week, preparing for his ARCA start with Ken Schrader Racing, the former Winchester 400 and All-American 400 winner hasn’t been able to spend as much time in the Late Model shop as he would have liked to for such an important event.

As a result, he’s left much of the heavy lifting to his team back home in Mooresville.

“I’m thankful to my team who is still working on the car while I’ve been up here,” Kenseth said. “It’s always a big race and you get some big names to run it.”

This year, the big names include defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott, current Truck Series contender Erik Jones and upstart trucker John Hunter Nemechek. The best Super Late Model drivers from all over the country, including Bubba Pollard, Donnie Wilson and Travis Braden are also on the entry list.

As if the competition wasn’t tough enough, Berlin has been just as tough on Kenseth over the years — with a best finish of third back in 2010. Given his experience on the track, Kenseth hopes this is where the turnaround begins and that a victory on Tuesday could propel him to a clean sweep of the biggest week of his career.

“It’s one of those hit or miss races for me where we either have a real good run or it’s really bad. I hope this is one of those good years. I really want to win this one.”

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