Today was the official announcement stating that Matt Kenseth would race for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013. It has been rumored for months that Kenseth would drive the No. 20 Toyota for JGR but the thing everyone wanted to know was why?
Why would Matt Kenseth, a former series champion, and two time winner of the Daytona 500 leave an organization that he had so much success with? Why would Kenseth leave an organization he elevated to the upper echelon of NASCAR for over a decade?
I heard nothing about winding down or ending his career at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Kenseth made two statements that made it clear why he choose to leave Roush Fenway Racing. The veteran driver repeatedly stated that the program at JGR was “the most competitive going forward.” He talked about winning championships at JGR, while he often talked about compeating for them at Roush Fenway Racing. (RFR)
In simple terms, Matt Kenseth made the move to JGR because he wanted to compete. Sure there was as Kenseth said “a lot” of reasons for leaving RFR and they all revolved about being competitive.
Kenseth spoke kindly of future Gibbs teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. Those statements were not shots at his current teamates of Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. Kenseth said he had only stepped in the JGR building once before today ensuring that he was still focused on 2012 and his No. 17 car.
Roush Fenway Racing went from four full time cars at the Cup level in 2011 to three this year. Kenseth’s car has been unsponsored in a handful of races and the Nationwide program has been scrapped to a lone full time car with a second car running when funding is available.
In the end Matt Kenseth had to do what was best for himself. Kenseth feels that JGR gives him the best chance to win not just races but championships. Having that feeling was worth leaving Roush Fenway.