Kenseth celebrates Daytona win with Carlisle

DALLAS – Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth said he got “one or two hours of sleep” during a whirlwind day that started in the very early morning Tuesday when he earned his second Daytona crown and continued in downtown Dallas on Tuesday when he shared the stage with Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle during a “Night of Champions” at American Airlines Center.

Kenseth endured a series of almost unprecedented incidents in the 54th running at a Daytona race that was delayed by rain and fire.

“I always thought stuff blowing up when you run into it was just Hollywood,” Kenseth said. “I guess not.”

Carlisle, coach of the defending NBA champion Mavericks, congratulated Kenseth before the game and presented him with an autographed Mavs game ball Kenseth said would be the centerpiece of the sports bar he’s including in the new home he’s having built. Kenseth countered with an autographed racing cap.

Both men admitted they are not connoisseurs of the other’s sport. Kenseth, a native of Wisconsin, is a Packers fan. But otherwise, he joked, the TV watching in his house is dictated by the kids, so “it’s more Elmo and Dora.” But Carlisle, in particular, talked about recognizing excellence. And Kenseth, who led 50 of the 202 laps at Daytona, has proven he is exactly that.

Kenseth, who watched the Nets-at-Mavs game from a suite, then from courtside seats alongside Texas Motor Speedway boss Eddie Gossage, has a particular affinity for North Texas, having statistically dominated at TMS during his 15-year career.

Rain in the Daytona Beach area postponed the scheduled Sunday start, while even more weather problems backed up the start of the race to prime time Monday at 7:00 p.m. Late in the event, the car of Juan Pablo Montoya spun into the rear of a jet dryer that was cleaning off the track, causing the dryer to exploded into flames. The ensuing fire and cleanup created another delay of more than two hours.

“Just when you think you’ve seen everything, something like that happens,” Kenseth said.

What’s happening next for Kenseth: More media touring from coast-to-coast, then eventually a few more hours of sleep.