Matt Kenseth Says He Won't Return to Joe Gibbs Racing Next Season

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2017

Matt Kenseth walks in the pit area before qualifying, Friday, June 16, 2017, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race in Brooklyn, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

NASCAR veteran Matt Kenseth announced Friday that it is unlikely he will return to Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2018 Cup Series season.

According to ESPN.com's Bob Pockrass, Kenseth said the following without providing further information on the news: "I do not think I will have the option to race for JGR next year, unfortunately."

The 45-year-old Kenseth is currently 11th in the points standings, but since he has no wins and five drivers behind him have won races that will count toward the playoffs, he is in danger of missing out on the Chase.

Kenseth has 38 career Cup Series wins, is a former Cup Series champion and finished fifth in the standings last year.

The driver of the No. 20 car said he currently has no ride lined up for the 2018 campaign:

"I haven't really worked on anything real hard [for next year]. ... I don't really have anything to talk about for what I am doing. At this point, I don't have anything going on for next year. ... I'm not really worried about it. As of today, I do not have a job for next year, so I certainly hope to still be racing. I think I've got some wins left in me and hopefully can race for championships. Right now, my focus is on finishing up this year."

Per Pockrass, Joe Gibbs Racing is expected to replace Kenseth with youngster Erik Jones next season, and while it is unclear where Kenseth will go, taking over for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports is a possibility.

Kenseth has been part of Joe Gibbs Racing since signing with the organization prior to the 2013 season after a six-year run with Roush Fenway Racing.

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