Robbie Reiser just wanted somebody to drive his Busch Series car for a couple weeks while his regular driver, Tim Bender, recovered from injuries sustained in a racing accident. Reiser called Matt Kenseth, and together they won the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship in their sixth year. Reiser, Kenseth's crew chief, took time out from his championship celebration to talk about the just-completed season.
Question: You called Matt in 1997 to get you out of a jam. It turned into a lasting relationship that now includes the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship. Are you surprised by how much you've been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time?
Reiser: "I think you look back at a lot of things you do in life, but to this day I think we've always looked forward. I don't think we look back. The time we went down to Daytona we had no sponsor and we didn't know if we were going to race the next week. I don't think we ever looked backward; we looked ahead to what we were going to do."
Question: You used to drive on the American Speed Association circuit and you've even filled in on your own Busch Series car. Why did you pick your rival to work for you?
Reiser: "There weren't a whole lot of choices. He could drive for somebody. He could have (driven) for a couple of guys, and I don't understand why he didn't, but somehow we hung together. The way this sport is, where a lot of people don't hang together, we're getting a payback for that. I think not only when you look at Matt and myself, but you've got to look at our whole team. Our whole team is a lot like that. We've got a lot of guys that hung in there. Russ Strupp and Todd Millard and Jeff Vandermoss are all back from our days back in Wisconsin. It's a tribute to all those people that this whole thing worked. We were fortunate to have fathers that had racing backgrounds and understood this deal and hung in there with us. Without that, I don't think any of this would be possible."
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