Matt Kenseth to leave Roush at end of season
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR points leader Matt Kenseth is leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be promoted to his seat in the Sprint Cup Series.
There was widespread speculation last weekend at Sonoma that Kenseth, a native of Cambridge, was leaving to join Joe Gibbs Racing, but Kenseth declined before Sunday’s race to discuss his future with the organization he has been with for all but one of his 452 career starts.
Roush announced Tuesday that Kenseth is moving on at the end of the year, without disclosing a reason.
“I’d like to thank Matt Kenseth for his many years of loyal service,” team co-owner Jack Roush said in a statement. “Matt has been an integral part of this organization for well over a decade, and we are extremely appreciative of his accomplishments and contributions to the team, and will always consider him a part of the Roush Fenway family.”
It appears Kenseth is headed to JGR for either Joey Logano’s seat in the No. 20 Toyota, or a fourth car. Team president J.D. Gibbs did not respond to a request for a comment Tuesday morning, and said at Sonoma he could not talk about Kenseth.
Either way, it will be a tremendous change for Kenseth, who has been in the No. 17 Ford his entire career. Kenseth has won 22 Cup races, including two Daytona 500s, and the 2003 championship driving for Roush. In the Nationwide Series, Kenseth has won 26 races driving for Roush.
His relationship with owner Jack Roush and current general manager Robbie Reiser dates to 1997, when Kenseth first drove Reiser’s No. 17 entry. Reiser then became Kenseth’s crew chief at Roush in 2000, Kenseth’s rookie season.