Matt Kenseth: NASCAR Points Leader to Depart from Roush Fenway

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2012

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 22:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 Ford EcoBoost Ford, walks on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma on June 22, 2012 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Matt Kenseth will be leaving Roush Fenway racing at the conclusion of the 2012 season, according to ESPN.

The famous No. 17 car will now be driven by prospect Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

After 14 years of working with the same team, the combination of Kenseth and Roush was one that seemed destined for a lifetime partnership. If the sport of NASCAR has taught us anything, it’s that nothing lasts forever.

Kenseth started his NASCAR career as a driver in the Busch Series for Roush Racing before finally getting his chance to race in 1998 when Bill Elliot was out and the young star filled in.

Matt Kenseth took to Twitter to share his feelings about the departure at the end of the season and how this doesn’t mean 2012 is a throwaway year:

I'm very thankful to Jack Roush for the opportunities he's given me over the past 14 years. Together we have enjoyed a lot of success....

— Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) June 26, 2012

And as a team we are committed as ever to the remainder of the 2012 season and chasing a 3rd sprint cup title for Jack and RFR

— Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) June 26, 2012

Darien and Tony proved to us last year there is no such thing as a "lame duck" team or season. We will continue to go to work and race hard.

— Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) June 26, 2012

With a feeling of mutual respect, team co-owner Jack Roush told the media via statement about his long-time driver:

I'd like to thank Matt Kenseth for his many years of loyal service. Matt has been an integral part of this organization for well over a 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.

While Kenseth has remained the consignment professional here, the change of scenery has to be something weighing heavily on the usually timid driver’s mind. As much as this pressure may have forced others to crumble, Kenseth is translating it into on-track success.

If the team as a whole can keep their eyes on the prize—from the crew chief to the tire changers—Kenseth has a chance to end his storied career at Roush Fenway racing with a huge championship win.

Not only will a win this year get Kenseth any ride in NASCAR he’d want, it would be the last jab back at his former employers for not keeping him around.

While nothing has been set, it will be exciting to see where Kenseth races next season.


Check back for more on NASCAR as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NASCAR page to get your fill of all things motorsports.