The Tampa Bay Lightning will host 2009 Daytona 500 Champion Matt Kenseth on Thursday, January 14 when they take on their cross-state rival Florida Panthers and he will perform the ceremonial puck drop at center ice.
Kenseth, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ 2000 Rookie of the Year, will hold an autograph session for fans at section 112 from 6-7 p.m. before the start of the start of the game. Fans may also tune in to hear Kenseth speak during an exclusive interview with Sun Sports’ Paul Kennedy during the game’s first intermission.
In addition, those in attendance will be able to view the Daytona 500 show car on the West Plaza, courtesy of Daytona International Speedway. They will also provide fans with a chance drawing to win two tickets to this year’s Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 14, with proceeds benefiting the Humane Society of Tampa Bay as the Lightning will also be hosting Pucks n’ Paws Night.
Kenseth has been a consistent hallmark of success on the NASCAR circuit since his debut over a decade ago. Kenseth first appeared in the Sprint Cup Series in 1998 at Dover, finishing in sixth place which was the third-best finish in history of any debut driver. In 2000, he became the only rookie to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, a mark of distinction which he holds to this day. Kenseth added a 2003 Sprint Cup Series Championship to his resume soon after, along with a first-place trophy in 2004’s International Race of Champions. In 2007, Kenseth finished fourth in the Sprint Cup Series standings, with two championships in the Auto Club 500 and Ford 400, while grossing over $6 million in earnings.