Daytona 500 Winner Matt Kenseth is Our Guest DJ

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As a music fan, I get a lot of perks at KCRW, like recording bands like the Black Keys and being at the controls when we host a virtually unknown band that later goes on to win Grammys.

Other than music, my true love is Motorsports and recently I had the pleasure of treating that side of me as well.

KCRW DJ Raul Campos and I had the task of recording a Guest DJ Project set on location at the Auto Club Speedway with NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and Daytona 500 winner driver of the Roush-Fenway Ford #17, Matt Kenseth, right before his first practice laps around the track.

Raul and I made the drive to Fontana with microphones packed and sat down as Matt talked about 5 tracks that have inspired him throughout his life.

I have always been a fan of Motorsports, anything with four wheels that looks fast always caught my attention.  It must be a boy thing, but most have had that fantasy of being a race car driver, winning a race neck to neck at the checkered flag.

As Matt Kenseth opened up to us, he gives us insight into his life growing up in a conservative Wisconsin town, including a personal story about his mother cutting the lyric sheet in his REO Speedwagon LP. (My Catholic mom did something similar – she tried to trash the poster of DIO’s “Holly Diver” that I had on my bedroom wall, saying “That’s the devil isn’t it- and that’s a priest?”

We get a lot of coverage of our favorite drivers during race broadcasts. Drivers have a bad day and the cameras and pit reporters are right there getting their fresh emotions on live TV and radio.

This is very different than most sports — cameras don’t follow Meta World Peace into the locker room right after he gives an elbow and is ejected out of the game- but we do see Kyle Busch after he spins some other driver on the track. No cameras follow NFL’s Peyton Manning after he’s hurt and carted away to the team’s locker room, but we see it all after a driver hits the wall at almost 200 MPH and is still catching their breath or limping back to the garage.

Many interviews are the driver’s chance to spell out a whole list of sponsors that support the team and his car.

However, in Matt’s guest DJ set, we see another side of him. We get a look at his off track thoughts about his family, future expectations as a champion driver and you get to enjoy some music along the way. Check it out here.

Mario Diaz
KCRW Recording/ Production Engineer