News & Media

Kenseth hopes to announce future plans soon

June 29, 2012, Joe Menzer,

SPARTA, Ky. -- Matt Kenseth is ready to tell the world where he's going to work next year.

But he can't do so just yet. Kenseth announced last Tuesday that he will not return as the driver of the No. 17 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, where he has been employed since shortly after breaking into NASCAR full-time in 1997. Kenseth has driven the No. 17 full-time in the Sprint Cup Series since 2000 and currently leads the series points standings.

Kenseth leaving RFR

Matt Kenseth has been at Roush Fenway Racing since 1998 but this season will be his last as he will leave the team at the end of the year, opening the door for Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Rumors have run rampant that Kenseth may be headed to drive a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, or that he may end up driving a Dodge for another organization that switches to that manufacturer next season. Only Kenseth and a handful of other insiders appear to know for certain -- and Kenseth said from Kentucky Speedway on Friday that he can't tell yet.

"Hopefully sooner rather than later. That ball is out of my court, unfortunately," Kenseth said of when he will be able to reveal his next employer. "I'm trying to get that done as soon as possible, just so it's out there and everybody can go on with their lives. Half the story is out there. Hopefully we can get that other half out there as well real soon and go on."

Prior to hitting the 1.5-mile track Friday to practice for Saturday's Quaker State 400, Kenseth met with the media and said he has no regrets about the decision he's made about his future. The 2003 Cup champion also insisted -- again -- he believes he can still contend for the championship this season, even if his team is in lame-duck status with RFR.

"It's been kind of a stressful week, and really all season, to be honest with you. ... It all ended up coming together pretty quickly. I really felt and feel like it's absolutely the right thing to do and the right place for me next year and for my future as well," said Kenseth, who won the season-opening Daytona 500 last February but is in the final year of his contract and faced sponsorship concerns with the No. 17 car. "It's kind of hard to explain, but just a lot of things pointed me in that direction. A lot of things happened that led to it.

"I think the rest of the season is only a distraction if me and the race team let it be. We'll see how we handle it this weekend and then hopefully it'll settle down after that and be just fine for the rest of the year."