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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Circle K, an international chain of convenience stores, will serve as the primary sponsor for six races this season with driver Matt Kenseth and the No. 20 Toyota fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The multi-year sponsorship was announced Wednesday by JGR and Circle K officials at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
"It seems like today, in general and not just in racing, there's always more negative stories than positive so for me it's always exciting to get a new sponsor into the sport at whatever level it's at," Kenseth said. "… I always feel like that's a positive for whole industry. I'm glad they're on my car."
The Circle K sponsorship will debut on the car at this month's race at Richmond, and will return for races at Talladega and Charlotte in May, Kentucky in July as well as Texas and Phoenix in November.
According to officials, the company will have associate branding on the car for those races in which it is not the primary sponsor.
Kenseth was sponsored by Dollar General through 2016 before that company left NASCAR.
The No. 20 entry has featured branding from DeWalt (Daytona, Atlanta), BlueDEF (Las Vegas), Tide Pods (Phoenix, Martinsville), PEAK (Auto Club) and Toyota "Let's Go Places" (Texas) thus far this season.
"In a perfect world you'd have your car fully-funded at a high level (for) years in advance," Kenseth said. "That would be the best case for everybody. But in today's environment, there are very few cars that are actually like that."
Circle K has stores in 41 states and is owned by Canadian-based parent company Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. While the company has had previous NASCAR affiliations, this year's sponsorship is a first in the role of a primary sponsor.
"It's an exciting day for us, for all of our other sponsors as well," team owner Joe Gibbs said. "It's also a huge benefit for Circle K to be matched with these companies."
JGR, which also fields teams for Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, still has open inventory on the No. 20 entry, but Kenseth said he's been more focused on competition issues of late.
"I've been more worried about how we get our season turned around, running up front and hopefully winning some races," said the 2003 series champion.
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Since joining JGR in 2013, Kenseth has won 14 times. He won twice last year and finished fifth in the points standings. So far in '17, he's managed three top 10s, but three finishes of 36th or worse as well and sits 22nd in points as the series heads to Bristol this week for Sunday's Food City 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
When it was suggested his season has been hit or miss, Kenseth noted that he's "hit a lot of stuff. We haven't missed much."
"I think looking at just the (No.) 20 that we’ve been off," he said. "… (Other than Atlanta), we just have not run very well really. … Some things are circumstances but I think if we can get running better, that solves a lot of your problems.
"We're off a little bit for sure. It seems like the window is pretty small right now; it's easy to miss it."