Joe Gibbs Racing held a press conference on Tuesday to announce that Matt Kenseth will drive JGR’s No. 20 Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2013. Kenseth remains with Roush Fenway Racing, behind the wheel of the No. 17 Ford, for the remainder of 2012, after which he’ll be replaced there by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
“Surprise,” Kenseth said to start the press conference.
Roush Fenway announced earlier this season that Kenseth would be leaving that organization at the end of the year and that reigning Nationwide Series champion Stenhouse would move up to the Sprint Cup Series to drive the No. 17 in 2013. Soon after that announcement, Kenseth stated that he already had something in the works for 2013 but remained mum on specific details, until Tuesday.
“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity — the next chapter of my career,” Kenseth, the 2003 Sprint (then-Winston) Cup champion said.
Kenseth also said that he’d like to run some Nationwide races next year.
“We’ve briefly discuss that,” Kenseth said. “I hope to run some Nationwide races.”
Kenseth has been with Roush Fenway Racing since the start of his full-time Sprint Cup Series career that began with the 2000 season, a season in which he claimed series Rookie of the Year honors. He has since claimed 22 race wins and a Cup Series championship.
Kenseth is currently emroiled in a championship battle in his final year behind the wheel of the No. 17 car. He says that his impending move to JGR will not hinder his performance for the remainder of 2012.
“I’m 100 percent committed to Roush until the first of the year,” Kenseth said.
Kenseth will join Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch in the Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup stable, replacing Joey Logano. Team owner Joe Gibbs seemed to unintentionally and unofficially announce that Logano was headed to Penske Racing next year to drive the No. 22 Ford. Other media outlets have also reported that unnamed sources have said that Logano is heading to the Penske organization.
The No. 20 team at Joe Gibbs Racing was formed at the beginning of the 1999 season with then-rookie Tony Stewart as driver. Stewart drove the car through 2008. During his time at JGR, Stewart claimed 33 race wins and two Sprint Cup championships in 2002 and 2005. Logano has driven the car since, posting two race wins, most recently earlier this season at Pocono Raceway.
– Photo of Matt Kenseth (right) with Tony Stewart courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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