Tuesday, September 04, 2012

It's Official! Kenseth To JGR In 2013

Kenseth: "...really a unique opportunity."
Joe Gibbs Racing finally made it official today, confirming former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth as driver of the No. 20 Home Depot/Dollar General Toyota for 2013 and beyond. Kenseth replaces Joey Logano, who is expected to drive Penske Racing’s No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford next season. 

Kenseth alluded to what was likely the worst-kept secret in NASCAR, greeting the media with a smiling, “Surprise!” He said the decision to change teams after 15 years in the Roush Fenway Racing camp boiled down to the ability to win. 

“Lot of things went into the decision,” he said. “At end of day, this was really a unique opportunity. This business is all about winning races and championships, and you want to put yourself in the best position you possibly can to be competitive going forward.  

“When you look at what they’ve accomplished here at JGR, I feel like this is the right place for me. I’ve always felt like things happen for a reason, and ever since the Daytona 500, through the time I first talked to these guys back in May to right now, everything pointed in this direction.” 

He said the decision took longer to announce than he would have liked, adding, “You certainly want to be sensitive to other agreements you may have, and things going on there. There were also things going on with Joey (Logano) and other things I had (to honor).” 

He said he welcomes the opportunity to work as a teammate to drivers Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, saying, “It’s a big honor to race for JGR, and I’m really looking forward to working with both Denny and Kyle. They’ve both been big winners, and there’s obviously a little pressure there (to achieve). I’m looking to win more races and a championship. This is a championship team, and I’m excited to be part of it.” 

“Unless you have the right guy behind the wheel, you’re kind of wasting your time,” said JD Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Matt fills that bill for us. Watching Matt and (crew chief) Jason Ratcliff jell as a team is going to be a lot of fun. We’re all looking forward to spending time getting to know Matt.” 

Gibbs said the move did not stem from any dissatisfaction with Logano’s performance, which includes a pair of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories. 

“When it became apparent to us that we might have a shot to get Matt, that’s the kind of thing you have to follow up with,” he said. “No sponsors told us to get rid of anybody. It just felt like Matt was a good fit.” 

Terms of Kenseth’s new contract were not disclosed, and Gibbs said the number of races to be backed by Home Depot and Dollar General has not yet been finalized. 

Team owner Joe Gibbs recalled his first interaction with Kenseth, racing in what is now the NASCAR Nationwide Series nearly 20 years ago.  

“The first time I ever saw Matt, we had Tony Stewart racing in the Nationwide Series,” recalled Gibbs. “It was our first year in Nationwide with Tony, and he had wrecked everything we had three times. We were finally going to win a race… I think it was at Rockingham Speedway. I’m thinking, `We’ve finally won one, we’re finally going to win a race,’ and then Matt punted us.  

“I’m still to this day a little upset about that,” he laughed. “Matt, you owe me 10 grand!”

 Photo: Kevin Liles, US Presswire






  1. Anonymous3:24 PM

    Sure wish Matt was going to penske to stay in a ford.Ford should open ther eyes & realize what they are losing!Someday they will realize they mad a HUGE mistake in Carl Edwards! Sorry Matt gotta stay with a ford. GO RICKY&TREVOR!

    1. Anonymous7:14 PM

      I'd be sorry to if I chose Ricky & Trevor over a Matt Kenseth.

  2. Schreib3:25 PM

    I understand the logistics behind Matts decision, but being a long time Kenseth fan, it will be hard to see him in something other than a blue oval.Nevertheless, I will still be a fan of his.He was the stability and prime example of talent and class at Roush, and I wish him the best at Gibbs!

  3. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Matt is looking out for Matt as his years are coming to a close.

    1. Anonymous5:30 AM

      not a single driver in nascar you can't say that about.. so what's yer point?

    2. Anonymous5:27 PM

      Exactly, if you don't look out for yourself, who will, doubt if it is gonna be Ford or RFR. Driver should not have to worry about business side if he is not the owner of the team.

  4. Anonymous6:11 PM

    Matt totally deserves full time primary sponsorship with the superior credentials he has achieved throughout his established career. Can't wait to check him out on resarts with some darkside power under his hood. Congrats Matt & Fans , totally exciting!!!

    1. Anonymous12:41 PM

      The cat in the hat just lost Matt. JGR has sponsorship on their car! The cat took a nap and waited too long before he realized his top driver was gone. JGR says that cat is crazy, so they signed him up and all is amazing!

    2. Anonymous2:02 PM

      Must be rough times @ RFR to let their top thoroughbred escape from the stables. How do you let a 2 time 500 winner & series champ get away? Don't recall the Biff or Carl winning anything like the 500 or championship on the cup side.

    3. Anonymous7:19 PM

      Yeah it should be pretty exciting all right when he blows by the Biff & Edwards!

  5. Anonymous6:41 PM

    I don't understand how someone won't stay a Kenseth fan because he's leaving Ford. I'm a Ford guy, always will be, but I remember rooting on this young kid in the Bush series many years ago, driving the number 17...Chevy. Be a fan to your driver, not your manufacture.

    1. Anonymous1:08 PM

      Some people don't like change. They would rather be stuck in the now rather than move forward.

    2. Anonymous1:54 PM

      Can't blame the man for wanting stability in his career.

  6. Anonymous7:10 PM

    I see more opportunity for Kenseth at Gibbs. Great fit for Matt & JGR. Wouldn't be surprised if he wins a few more races during the race season.

  7. Anonymous7:22 PM

    I feel Jack's sadness and Joe & Matt's excitement.

  8. Anonymous7:29 PM

    Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle lost a great teammate. Denny and Kyle should benefit quite a bit from the proven veteran champion Kenseth.

  9. Anonymous6:33 PM

    Have always been a Kenseth fan & always will be, even in a Toy.
    Have also always been a Roush fan but, Jack you blew it on this one.
    Matt is a class act & I wish him the bestl