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Most NASCAR drivers would tell you that every race counts. But when you’re looking at the prospect of retirement, like Dale Earnhardt Jr, or just pressing pause for a season, like Matt Kenseth, every race counts even more. And it was written all over Matt’s face in Victory Lane Sunday in Phoenix.


The 45-year-old member of Joe Gibbs Racing has said that he’s taking the 2018 season off, which made his victory at the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway even more fulfilling. In fact, Matt was so thrilled with the win that he was overcome with emotion.

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Choking back tears, he told reporters, “I don’t know what to say, except for thank the Lord. It’s been an amazing journey. I know I’m a big baby right now, but we just got one race left and everybody dreams of going out a winner. We won today, nobody can take that one away from us.”

Matt was also quick to thank his fans. “It’s been quite the journey here the last 20, and thank you fans, I appreciate it,” he said.

Fellow drivers were quick to recognize Matt’s accomplishment and offer their congratulations as well, including teammate Kyle Busch …

… and Dale Jr. …

… and Clint Bowyer …

… and Ryan Blaney …

… and Kasey Kahne.

Even the iconic Mario Andretti had an amazing message for Matt …

That looks like a pretty sweet victory. Congratulations Matt!

A NASCAR driver is emotional minutes after taking checkered flag  Twitter/@NASCARonNBC
Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development in the past. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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