|Matt Kenseth made the call|
Roush Fenway Racing announced yesterday that Matt Kenseth will leave the team at season’s end, and multiple sources now say the decision to part company was Kenseth’s.
Rumors circulated recently that the former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion was being courted by both Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing, after RFR struggled to secure sponsorship for his No. 17 Ford in each of the last two seasons. Sources say Kenseth met with Jack Roush early this week and informed him that he will move to JGR in 2013, driving the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota currently piloted by Joey Logano.
Kenseth has not confirmed those plans, but issued a written statement via Twitter yesterday, saying, “I'm very thankful to Jack Roush for the opportunities he's given me over the past 14 years. Together we have enjoyed a lot of success.... And as a team we are committed as ever to the remainder of the 2012 season and chasing a 3rd sprint cup title for Jack and RFR. Although I have nothing to announce regarding 2013, I feel the timing of this announcement gives RFR ample time to get things lined up... Darien (Grubb) and Tony (Stewart) proved to us last year there is no such thing as a `lame duck’ team or season. We will continue to go to work and race hard."
Ford Racing Director Jamie Allison said of the decision, "All of us at Ford are certainly disappointed to hear that Matt will be leaving, and he will be certainly missed by us and the Ford Racing fans. We are thankful for Matt's winning efforts and championship-caliber success with the Roush and Ford racing programs these past 16 years, both on and off the track. We will focus on this year and look forward to more success on the track in his #17 Ford Fusion this season."
Joe Gibbs Racing is reportedly seeking sponsorship to field a new, fourth Sprint Cup Series Toyota next season for Logano. If sufficient backing is not found, Logano could return to JGR’s NASCAR Nationwide Series lineup next season.