Matt Kenseth may very well be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points leader and driver of the No. 17 Ford at Roush Fenway Racing for his entire Sprint Cup career since going full-time in the series and claiming rookie of the year honors in 2000, not to mention claiming the (then-Winston) Cup title in 2003. Still, the current points leader already knows that he won’t be with RFR in 2013.
“Of course, I’d like to thank Matt Kenseth for his many years of loyal service,” car owner Jack Roush said. “Matt has been an integral part of this organization for well over and 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.
Instead, reigning Nationwide Series champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., will be joining Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle as full-time Sprint Cup drivers for Roush next year.
“Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has more than proved his abilities on the race track,” Roush said. “We feel that he is not only a key piece of our team’s future, but a key piece of the future of the sport.
There has been no official announcement in regards to where Kenseth will land in 2013, but speculation has him heading to Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske Racing, or possibly even a new organization.
Kenseth, so far, has won 22 races from behind the wheel of RFR’s No. 17, including two victories in the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s biggest race.
“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,” Ford Racing Director Jamie Allison said. “We are thankful for Matt’s winning efforts and championship-caliber success with the Roush and Ford Racing programs these past 16 years (including his time in the Nationwide Series), 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.”
Stenhouse has driven a Nationwide Series entry for Roush Fenway since 2010. After a rocky start to his NASCAR career, he went on to claim series rookie of the year honors in 2010 and the series championship last year. He has five-career wins in that series, including three so far in 2012. As of now, he’s third in the Nationwide Series points standings.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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