Despite winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in 2003 and winning the Daytona 500 earlier this season, Matt Kenseth is leaving Roush-Fenway Racing at the end of the 2012 season. The team announced an amicable split and the driver, who has never driven for another team since joining RFR in 2000, will be replaced by the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. It is believed that Kenseth will be headed to Joe Gibbs Racing to take control of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota or a fourth unannounced car.
Joe Gibbs Racing president, J.D. Gibbs refused to comment on the rumor.
Since the announcement on Tuesday, many in the NASCAR community have asked why. Wish I could give you an answer. A statement released by the team offered no answers as to why the sudden split.
“Of course, I’d like to thank Matt Kenseth for his many years of loyal service,” said Jack Roush 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.
And while Kenseth has not released an official statement, he did tweet about his departure from the organization:
”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,” he posted. ”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.”
Currently Kenseth and his RFR teammate, Greg Biffle are ranked 1 and 2 in the points standings and he is predicted to make a run for the Cup. Could this open the door for another driver, say NASCAR’s Most Popular?
However, Roush doesn’t think think will hurt his championship hopes, saying ”The No. 17 is positioned extremely well this season, and I’m committed to providing the team the best resources to continue their run for the 2012 championship. I have no doubt that Matt will do his part.”
Kenseth has 11-top 10 finishes through 16 races this season.