Secret's out: Kenseth finds 'right place' at Joe Gibbs Racing

Posted Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
Race for the Chase

Plenty of drama surrounds the final berths for the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship. Just about all of it revolves around the reigning champion, Tony Stewart, who is 10th in the standings and has clinched a spot with three victories and a potential Chase nine bonus points. He'll stay in the top 10 with a finish of 14th at the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday night. If he doesn't, then dominoes start to fall.

Looking golden: Kasey Kahne, with two victories, would clinch his top wild-card spot with a victory Saturday. If Stewart stays in the top 10, Kahne would also clinch. If Stewart falls out of the top 10, Kahne would clinch a spot if a one-win driver outside the top 10 does not win. If Kyle Busch supplants Stewart in the top 10, and Jeff Gordon wins, Kahne, with one career victory at Richmond and a fifth-place finish in April, would clinch a spot by finishing 13th or better, 14th with at least one lap led or 15th with the most laps led.

Burn in up, Busch: If Kyle Busch, in the No. 2 wild-card position and a four-time winner at Richmond, wins Saturday, he's in. If Stewart remains in the top 10 or if Kahne supplants Stewart in the top 10, Busch would also clinch a spot by losing 12 or fewer points to Jeff Gordon and by losing 40 or fewer points to Marcos Ambrose.

Still wondering: Like Kahne and Busch, Jeff Gordon still has a shot at a top-10 series finish. If Stewart remains in the top 10 or if Kahne supplants Stewart in the top 10, Gordon would clinch by finishing 13 points ahead of Busch and by losing 28 or fewer points to Ambrose and by losing 37 or fewer points to Ryan Newman. If Busch supplants Stewart in the top 10, Gordon would clinch a Chase berth with a win and finishing 18 points ahead of Kahne at Richmond.

Needing a really, really Carl special? Carl Edwards needs to win and Busch has to finish 24th or worse (with no laps led) and Gordon has to finish 12th or worse. Ryan Newman? He's only in if he can win Saturday.




1. Greg Biffle


2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.


3. Matt Kenseth


4. Jimmie Johnson


5. Martin Truex Jr.


6. Brad Keselowski


7. Denny Hamlin


8. Clint Bowyer


9. Kevin Harvick


10. Tony Stewart


11. Kasey Kahne


12. Kyle Busch


13. Jeff Gordon


14. Carl Edwards


15. Paul Menard


16. Marcos Ambrose


17. Ryan Newman


18. Joey Logano


19. Jamie McMurray


20. Jeff Burton


Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

It seems fitting that Matt Kenseth would formally announce his change of parties during the political convention season.

In what is perhaps the worst kept secret since Jerry Jones' association with a plastic surgeon, the perennial NASCAR Sprint Cup contender made his intentions known Tuesday that he would join Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013.

Kenseth will drive JGR's No. 20 Toyota, vacated through the defection of Joey Logano to Penske Racing, under the banners of Home Depot and Dollar General.

Terms and length of the deal were not released, much like the story of how one of NASCAR's pre-eminent drivers reached this point of his career.

Why Kenseth and Roush Fenway Racing decided to end a highly successful affiliation in June, which included a 2003 series championship, apparently will remain a tightly held national security secret.

"I'll probably still be vague," Kenseth said when asked for specifics on his divorce from Roush. "There's just a lot of different things that go into that. It's about 2013 and beyond. I felt like and I feel like Gibbs was the right place for me.

"I know without a doubt at all it's the right place for me to be. Things happen for a reason."

Gibbs also provides an environment to win races and compete for championships, "and you want to put yourself in position to be competitive going forward," Kenseth said.

Winning races and competing for championships never seemed to be a problem for Kenseth at Roush.

The 40-year-old Kenseth is the reigning winner at Daytona and ranks third in the series standings heading into Week 26.

JGR leadership, Joe Gibbs and son J.D., were predictably giddy during a news conference announcing the team's new driver.

Kenseth and the 22 victories, 122 top-five finishes and 223 top-10s accrued over a 13-year career will be joining a driver stable that already includes Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.

"In this sport you have to have somebody who can wheel it ... and make things go," team owner Joe Gibbs said. "We've had a great history because we've had great drivers.

"I'm excited to have Denny, Kyle and Matt sitting in a meeting together. I'd have to think it'd be hard to miss something with those three guys on the feedback."

J.D. Gibbs said the team wanted to also retain Logano for a full-time Nationwide role next season and for a fourth car for a number of Sprint Cup races.

Logano wanted a full-time job. Penske offered that.

"I made it clear to them I wanted a full-time Cup ride," said Logano, who has a victory on the big circuit this season and is in the hunt, albeit as a long shot, for one of the two wild-card Chase spots going into this week's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Speedway. "I feel I'm capable of doing that and winning races.

"This seemed like a perfect match."

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Tuesday, September 02Full Scoreboard
Cincinnati0Bottom 6th | Box
Baltimore5@theBallpark | TV: FSN-OH, MASN
Detroit «4Final | Box
Boston «9Final | Box
NY Yankees4
Philadelphia «4Final | Box
NY Mets «8Final | Box
Toronto «8Final | Box
Tampa Bay2
Milwaukee1Top 9th | Box
Chicago Cubs7@theBallpark | TV: FSN-WI, CSN-CHI+
LA Angels3Top 9th | Box
Houston8@theBallpark | TV: FSN-W, CSN-HOU
Texas1Final | Box
Kansas City «2
Chicago WSox3Bottom 9th | Box
Minnesota3@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CHI, FSN-N
Pittsburgh4Top 9th | Box
St. Louis6@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-PIT, FSN-MW
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Colorado7@theBallpark | TV: CSN-BA, ROOT-RM
Seattle4Top 5th | Box
Oakland0@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-NW, CSN-CA
Washington0Top 5th | Box
Los Angeles0@theBallpark | TV: MASN 2, SportsNet LA
Arizona1Top 5th | Box
San Diego0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-SD
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Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
Seattle TV: NBC
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
Chicago TV: FOX
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: FOX
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: CBS
New England 1:00 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FOX
San Francisco 4:25 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Carolina 4:25 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Indianapolis 8:30 PM ET
Denver TV: NBC
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