Secret's out: Kenseth finds 'right place' at Joe Gibbs Racing
09/05/2012 11:09 PM
09/06/2012 7:54 AM
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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