Kenseth: I Will Be Gone From Gibbs

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, July 7 2017

Matt Kenseth said Friday that he has no ride for next year. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

Matt Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Cup champion, said Friday that he not be back as a driver for Joe Gibbs Racing next year and does not know where he will land.

Kenseth made his announcement during a press conference at Kentucky Speedway, site of this weekend’s Cup race.

“As of today I do not have a job for next year,” the Wisconsin native said. “I certainly hope to still be racing. I think I got some wins left in me and hopefully can race for championships. Right now my focus is on finishing up this year.”

Kenseth, like the three other drivers at Joe Gibbs Racing – Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Danial Suarez – has had a disappointing start to the season. He has no victories and just three top-five finishes.

Kenseth has not had a top-10 finish in the last month. The high point of his season was a pole victory at Richmond in Week 9.

“As we talked about, it’s been kind of a slow start,” he said. “It has not been a good year at all. Not nearly up to my standards or my team’s standards. You know really trying to get back to victory lane. Hopefully get qualified for the playoffs here and have a shot at a championships is pretty much focus at this point.”

Asked if a return to JGR is possible, Kenseth said, “I don’t think so. I don’t think it is. Like I said, I don’t have a ride at this moment for next year. I haven’t really worked on anything real hard. I do not think I will have the option to race at JGR next year, unfortunately.”

No Gibbs drivers have a victory this season. Last year, they won 12 races. Two of those were by Kenseth.

Kenseth was asked if he was surprised by the relatively slow start to the season for the drivers in the Joe Gibbs stable.

“I mean it’s a little surprising,” he said, “but yet I’ve been doing this for quite a while and you have ups and downs. Certainly, you know, since this is my fifth year at JGR and ’13 was a spectacular year how we performed – you know we came up short in a couple areas, but we ran really well. And 2014 we ran, you know, really really bad and only had a couple wins I think throughout the whole organization.

“One of them was a superspeedway win. ’15 was really strong. ‘16 was pretty strong and you know this year we just seem to be you know off a little bit. We do seem to be running much better lately. We’ve had a hard time of turning those good runs or better ones into finishes a lot, unfortunately. But I feel like we’re definitely in the upswing. Kyle (Busch) has been fast enough to win three or four races if all those circumstances would’ve went right. We’ve had one or two where I thought we were competitive enough if under the right circumstances – you know without mistakes or problems, where maybe we could’ve won. I feel like we’re getting closer to that. We just got to get things to go our way a little bit.”

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, July 7 2017
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