Saturday, November 17, 2012

Matt Kenseth bids farewell to Roush Fenway Racing

Matt Kenseth will drive the No. 17 Ford for the last time in Sunday's
Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead. Credit: Skirts and Scuffs

This weekend’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway signifies the end of an era for Matt Kenseth. For the final time, Kenseth will pilot the No. 17 Ford Fusion for Roush Fenway Racing.

In September, Kenseth announced he had signed a contract with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) to drive the No. 20 Toyota Camry in 2013.
Throughout his 13 seasons driving for Roush Fenway Racing, Kenseth has won 24 races, including two Daytona 500s. He was honored as the Raybestos Rookie of the Year in 2000 and was the last driver to be crowned the “Winston Cup Series” champion in 2003 before the series’ title sponsor changed to Sprint in 2004. In 2004, Kenseth went on to win the International Race of Champions (IROC) championship.
This season, Kenseth and his team have done remarkably well. To date he has notched three wins (including the coveted Daytona 500), 13 top fives, 19 top 10s and has an average finish of 10.9. Kenseth was also in contention for the Sprint Cup Series championship, having made the 2012 Chase.
Kenseth's most recent win came in October when he won the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. After starting 12th, Kenseth battled all day, led 78 laps and found himself in victory lane when the checkered flag flew.
Going into Homestead, he sits sixth in the Sprint Cup Series standings, just 12 points out from his future JGR teammate, Denny Hamlin. 
When asked about Kansas, Homestead, his team and the season they have had, Kenseth said, “It’s (Kansas) the most recent win that we’ve had, and unless things go really well for us this weekend at Homestead, it might be our last win at Roush Fenway.

"I’m hopeful, however, that we can go out and win at Homestead though. We’re bringing the same car as at Kansas and it’s a good track for us as an organization. This year we were really dominant at the plate races, having a chance to win all four of them. We won two of them, which was wonderful, but it’s different to win a plate race rather than a normal race. This race we really had to do everything. The pit stops and the strategy worked out and got us into the lead. It just felt really good to win this for Jimmy (Fennig, crew chief) and all the guys on the team because it had been a couple months since they knew I wasn’t going to be there next year that it was really a testament about the entire organization about never giving up. The team really proved that they’re giving me all they’ve got this season regardless of my plans for the future.”
Kenseth will be making his 472th Sprint Cup start this weekend. With the exception of one, all of his starts have been made while driving for Roush Fenway Racing. Kenseth, a past winner at Homestead, will aim to end his tenure with the organization in victory lane.

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