Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sources Say Kenseth Made Decision To Leave RFR

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.


  1. The battles he had with Jr way back in the Busch Series day. 14 years ago? That's a long time.

    Mark Martin had a long relationship with Roush. Roush does long term well. He seems to get the guys that share his other interests, and forms long term bonds with them.

    Business is business. This sport is as much a business, as it is entertainment. All good things must come to an end, and you have to look out for number 1. Matt is no dummy. He can see down the stout Roush pipeline and see what's coming. There is no long term place for him at RFR. The youngins' are a comin' and they mean business.

    I know that both Matt and RFR possess the level of class, and focus to finish their relationship, and this season strong. I don't think anyone is gonna be laying down for the sake of begrudging anyone.

    The future is bright. We have some great kids coming up. But, I think its important for the veterans to have a place to help nurture that young talent. While Hamlin is no kid- or Busch for that matter, they don't have a guy that's been "there". That would be an interesting team dynamic with Matt. I don't think they need to be nurtured over there, I just think Matt's demeanor would be a good fit for those guys.

    Hopefully Kalinoff didn't put Kenseth's name on any of the tats he got. If he stays with RFR and Stenhouse, he'll be fine. Good thing he has a lot of "canvas" because I think that kid's gonna be adding more ink.

    Gruntled for Matt, and for the future of NASCAR.

  2. Dwayne in Memphis10:09 AM

    Competitive team with secure financial backing versus Competitive team with uncertain financial backing...not even a contest.

  3. Anonymous11:12 AM

    JGR NEEDS a 'senior' member with championship experience on their team. Matt is a perfect fit. Good for Matt. Good for JGR. I hope they find a sponsor for Joey, otherwise he'll be the next Nationwide champion. And maybe that's not such a bad thing for a 22 year old.

    Doug from NJ
    A happy and gruntled JGR fan.

  4. Anonymous11:36 AM

    Matt made the decision to leave before RFR let him go .I can't see them hanging on to three vetran drivers with the young talent they have waiting in the wings.RFR and Ford don't want to loose the young up and coming talent the RFR has developed.And I'm sure Ford will never forget that they had Jeff Gordon and coulden't hang on to him.I think this was good for everyone involved with the possiable exception of Logano,and it may be good for him too.He moved up too fast.I think he has the skill to win a Nationwide title,then move into the cup series and try it again.I think then he will have the confidence then to get the job done.