Posted by: Dave Thompson, follow @phillyfan17
June 26, 2012
In rather stunning fashion Tuesday morning, Roush Fenway Racing announced Matt Kenseth, the current Sprint Cup Series points leader and 2003 Cup champion, will be leaving the team after the season.
With the announcement of Kenseth’s departure, RFR stated it will replace Kenseth in the No. 17 with defending Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. There is plenty of speculation and rumors that Kenseth is headed to Joe Gibbs Racing next season.
If the rumors are true and Kenseth does eventually sign with JGR, the big questions become, will he replace Joey Logano in the No. 20 or will JGR expand to four teams? Most likely, Kenseth would take over the No. 20 with Logano having to look for a new ride if he wants to remain in the Cup series.
“Of course, I’d like to thank Matt Kenseth for his many years of loyal service,” team owner Jack Roush said. “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.”
Roush Fenway Racing has been Kenseth’s home since 2000 when he entered the Cup series full-time. The Wisconsin native has earned 22 career victories and one Cup championship for RFR.
There are several drivers still uncertain of their future, including Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman so the Kenseth announcement only adds more drama to NASCAR’s Silly Season.
Statement from Jamie Allison of Roush Fenway Racing: “All of us at Ford are certainly disappointed to hear that Matt will be leaving, and he will be certainly missed by us and the Ford Racing fans. We are thankful for Matt’s winning efforts and championship-caliber success with the Roush and Ford racing programs these past 16 years, both on and off the track. We will focus on this year and look forward to more success on the track in his No. 17 Ford Fusion this season.”