Matt Kenseth has reportedly come to the conclusion that he no longer wants to be a part of the Roush Fenway Racing Team. The winner of the NASCAR Daytona 500 confirmed on Tuesday that he would be moving to Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2012-13 season.
At a Joe Gibbs Racing press conference, the 40-year-old driver who has claimed a total of 224 top 10 finishes in his 15 year career was vague when reporters asked why he decided to leave the No. 17 Ford.
"I knew it would not only be a good fit, but it's about winning races and winning championships and you want to put yourself in a position to be competitive going forward," Kenseth said. "I felt like this was it."
Kenseth spent 13 of his 15 cup seasons with RFR and was considered a competitive driver for what is considered one of the elite teams in NASCAR racing. So it was natural for reporters to be curious as to why he decided to leave for the No. 20 Toyota.
"There's just a lot of different things that go into that. It's about 2013 and beyond," Kenseth said. "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."
The 2003 Winston Cup Series champ was in the final year of his contract with RFR. Despite every one of his previous deals with Roush having been extended before he'd gotten to the final season, Kenseth did indicate to reporters on Tuesday that things "got cloudy" after his Daytona 500 victory.
There to capitalize on the cloudiness was Joe Gibbs Racing, who conveniently had room for a fourth car but was also eager to add an upgrade its lineup.
"When we realized there might be a possibility to get Matt, we realized it would be foolish not to do that," said team president J.D. Gibbs.
Kenseth added on Tuesday that it was RFR's decision to announce in June that Kenseth was leaving at the end of the year and would be replaced in the Sprint Cup Series by defending Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
JGR then decided took on the task of deciding when to announce that Kenseth had signed to drive the No. 20 Toyota next year. The task was a tough one considering that they were simultaneously figuring out how to keep 2009 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Joey Logano.
But just one day before the JGR press conference, news has surfaced that Logano has reached a deal to drive for Penske Racing in 2013, a source close to the situation confirmed to ESPN.com on Monday. Logano will drive the No. 22 Ford for Penske Racing.
Kenseth is expected to pick up some of the Nationwide races that Logano ran in a shared ride with Denny Hamlin and developmental drivers, according to ESPN. Team owner Joe Gibbs said the organization will field two other Nationwide teams that will run for the title. Those drivers will reportedly be announced at a later date, but Elliott Sadler is believed to have locked down a deal already.
Kenseth will be the third driver in the Cup lineup that includes Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.