Wednesday, June 27, 2012

COMMENTARY: Kenseth's Departure A Win/Win Deal

Kenseth is a proven Sprint Cup winner
The recently announced split between Matt Kenseth and Roush Fenway Racing has all the makings of a win-win situation for all parties.

For Roush Fenway Racing, Kenseth’s departure provides an opportunity to promote the latest in a long line of home-grown talents. In 1988, team owner Jack Roush plucked Mark Martin out of ASA obscurity, after the Arkansas native had failed in an earlier attempt at what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He brought West Coast short track star Greg Biffle to NASCAR in 1998 and gave Kenseth his shot at the big time in 2000. Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and David Ragan also got their first national exposure in RFR equipment.
Now, it’s time for Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Trevor Bayne to take their shots.
Stenhouse, the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, will run for Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors next season in the Roush Fenway Racing Ford vacated by Kenseth. Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 champion, will replace Stenhouse in Roush’s potent Nationwide Series Mustang, making him an instant favorite for the 2013 title.
For Roush, the driver change provides a significant cost savings, since Stenhouse will command a more modest salary than Kenseth. By decreasing the cost of doing business, Roush lessens the demand on his marketing department, which has struggled to find sponsorship for Kenseth in each of the last two seasons. Simply put, the team will need smaller sponsors – and fewer of them – with Stenhouse at the wheel.
Joe Gibbs solidifies his lineup
The move also allows RFR to secure its future by locking both Stenhouse and Bayne into quality, long-term rides. At age 42, Biffle still has some good years ahead. Edwards, age 32, is in his competitive prime. Adding 24-year old Stenhouse to the mix ensures that Roush Fenway Racing will remain competitive for years to come.
Clearly, Kenseth did not jump ship at RFR without a comfortable place to land. The Wisconsin native’s is believed to be headed to Joe Gibbs Racing next season to drive the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota. The ride is a proven winner, claiming the 2002 and 2005 Sprint Cup Series championships with Tony Stewart at the wheel, and will allow him to contend immediately for race wins and championships. The team is backed by a loyal, long term sponsor in The Home Depot, providing Kenseth with his first fully-backed team in recent memory.
The move allows JGR to solidify its relationship with The Home Depot by placing a proven winner and former series champion in their car for the first time since Stewart left town following the 2008 season. With all due respect to Joey Logano, wins have been few and far between for “Big Orange” in recent years, and the addition of Kenseth to their program will allow the home improvement giant to compete head-to-head once again with rival Lowe’s.
Roush Fenway Racing wins. Joe Gibbs Racing wins. Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne all win. The Home Depot wins, as well.
With the possible exception of Logano, this deal make sense for everyone involved.


  1. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Simply amazing once again.

    I know flattery gets me nowhere, but damn, what a great commentary.

    Thanks Mr. Moody

    Doug from NJ

  2. Anonymous12:05 PM

    This just shows that it all business the sponsors want to see their car in VL,RFR will get to opperate in the black with Ricky.To bad about Joey he is a great guy and a good wheel man i hoe he finds a seat during the silly season witch seems to have started.Good luck Joey

  3. Dwayne in Memphis1:18 PM

    I know "cost of cars" gets rolled into the whole team budget, and I know Matt Kenseth obviously gets a bigger salary than a Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. But how much of a team's budget - to be covered by sponsorship - is the driver's salary compared to building the car itself? And I know that changes, but is it something like a Kenseth salary is 3x the cost of building the car each week vs a Stenhouse is a third the cost of building the car. Or does preparing the car for the track significantly outweigh the cost of the driver each Sunday regardless of the driver even if you're talking a Stewart or a Gordon?
    Not picking a side or saying anything about this situation in particular...just asking for general knowledge's sake.

  4. Anonymous6:00 PM

    Hard to beleive that Nascar is becoming a bit like professional sports where the stars no longer have a sense of loyalty to their team for the length of their career. I have been following Nascar for 30 years, and have been a RFR fan for years. When Martin went to another team I threw out our Martin stuff. I AM loyal to the BRAND first then the driver. My son races a go kart, #17. We have been going to the Michigan June race for the last 8 years, including this year. Wish now we didn't spend so much at the Matt Kenseth trailer!

    1. This just in: this IS a professional sport, and has been for nearly 60 years! NASCAR drivers (just like you and I) change jobs from time to time, usually when they find one that's better than the one they have now. Matt has every right to take a more secure job with another team, IMO.

    2. Anonymous6:37 PM

      Without the FANS there would be no Nascar. Some fans are loyal to their driver, other like myself are loyal to the brand, then the driver. Ask the fans in Cleveland how they felt when Lebron James left for Miami. I know you are a Red Sox fan, so when a star Red Sox player leaves and goes to NY Yankees, how does that make you feel. Now you know how I feel about Kenseth going to a rival brand! FYI my first job I had lasted 22 years, till the office closed and moved 1,500 miles away.