Matt Kenseth is a NASCAR champion. Winning the final Winston Cup Series championship back in 2003 before the series rights were signed on by Nextel (which was bought by Sprint), Kenseth is a proven winner and a true leader inside of the NASCAR garage area.
Kenseth has worked with Gatorade for the majority of his career, going back to his first few seasons with Roush Racing after he moved up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ranks with Robbie Reiser (who was his Nationwide series car owner) as his crew chief. It’s been a long journey, but Kenseth has learned so much throughout his 18-year career and continues to excel as time goes on.
After driving for Roush-Fenway Racing for all but six races in his Sprint Cup Series career, Kenseth made the move to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013. Kenseth’s drive to win has made his journey successful 22 races into the 36-race schedule this far. After Watkins Glen, Kenseth sits seventh in the points standings with four wins, five top-five’s and 11 top-10′s.
More importantly, Kenseth is working with a new team at a time when NASCAR designed the Generation Six car. Together, he and Joe Gibbs Racing have had to learn more than most teams this year.
A big part of Kenseth’s success throughout his career is thanks to his work with Gatorade: “I think the biggest thing that has helped me is the Gatorade in-car drinking system. They developed that a while back that gives us a good way to get dispensed and to drink while racing under green. That’s been a big part of it.”
Kenseth, 41, is clearly the not youngest of the bunch. However, he’s been involved in racing since he was a teenager and has certainly developed a clear path to become arguably the most consistent driver in the NASCAR circuit. Kenseth says that after racing for so long, drivers learn how to adapt to the boiling temperatures in the race cars, which can surpass 250 degrees on any given race day (or night).
The key though? That’s to stay hydrated. Gatorade’s in-car drinking system has helped Kenseth mightily over the course of his career. It’s one of the many reasons that he and most of the other drivers have been able to race even while battling sickness.
“They taught me all about it, how much fluid you use, how much you need to have in you. Ever since then, I haven’t had an issue since I stay hydrated which helps stay focused,” said Kenseth, who’s been in NASCAR since 1996.
However, ever since Kenseth has been using the new system by Gatorade, it’s helped him enough that he doesn’t have to train specifically for the heat. Since NASCAR isn’t the most physical sport there is, the mental capability of a driver is more fundamental than any other type of athlete.
For Kenseth, he has a regular routine which he uses when he works out, even though he doesn’t have a specific workout schedule. Staying hydrated and keeping focus is the main thing for Kenseth. In fact, he even has advice for younger drivers who aren’t as fortunate to be able to use the same system as he does.
“It’s really hot in the race cars, even at the local level. If a driver doesn’t have the proper equipment, it’s really hard to stay hydrated and drink while you’re racing. It’s really important to stay hydrated and have nutrition in you which helps do your best in the car.”
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.