Saturday, 17 April, 2021


Kenseth plans time off in 2018, not calling it retirement

Matt Kenseth sits in his car as he waits to practice for a NASCAR Series Cup auto race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City Kan. Kenseth says he will be taking time off in 2018 though the former NASCAR Cup Series Kenseth plans time off in 2018, not calling it retirement
Noah Ferguson | 05 November, 2017, 11:02

I don't know what that means.

Matt Kenseth, 45, who now drives the #20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, is set to be replaced by 21-year-old Erik Jones, who now drives the #77 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing, the team with which Joe Gibbs Racing has a technical alliance, in the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Kenseth joins Dale Earnhardt Jr.?among veterans who have no plans to race in Cup after this season.

The 45-year-old Kenseth is the oldest full-time driver in the Monster Energy Cup Series and he is losing his ride with Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the current season. For now, I'm not making plans for 2018.

"Mostly, that's for people like Junior, when you have to fill a seat and find a sponsor. For me, it's just different because I didn't really have that option, my seat got filled before, before any of that, so there's really no reason to talk about it".

Kenseth finished runner-up to Earnhardt in the XFINITY Series in 1998 and third place to him in 1999.

This was announced almost four months ago, and the 45-year-old Kenseth has been unable to secure a ride in the Cup Series for next season since then. He won five races in 2002 then the Cup championship trophy the following year and was runner-up in 2006.

Kenseth says he'll just take some time off, but doesn't know if that's going to be for a year, two years, or just a few months. You never know what happens. Something could come up that makes me excited and looks like a fit and I'm not going to rule that out.

"I've put a lot of thought into it and pretty much decided after Martinsville, which I kind of already knew anyway, but we made a decision to take some time off".

"I think I can drive next year if I really wanted to go drive", he said. In nearly every measurable way, Kenseth has had the superior career - in just 20 more races, he has 12 more wins and 65 more top-10 finishes, plus the Cup Series title that Junior has never achieved. "I just don't really feel it's in the cards".

"It's been a really, really long, frustrating, disappointing season on a lot of levels". I felt like in a way I've earned that to be able to go out the way other drivers who had similar careers to dictate when your time is up.

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