Roush Fenway Racing announced Tuesday that Matt Kenseth would leave the organization at the end of this season and be replaced in the No. 17 car by current Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Kenseth who has made all but six of his 452 career Cup starts with Roush, winning a championship in 2003, and claiming Daytona 500 titles in 2009 and 2012 is currently leading the points standings.
“We’re fortunate that we were able to tap into Matt’s potential and bring him on board many years ago. 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.” Roush said in a statement.
“The No. 17 is positioned extremely well this season, and I’m committed to providing the team the best resources to continue their run for the 2012 championship. I have no doubt that Matt will do his part.”
Matt Kenseth who was not at the announcement Tuesday morning did make a statement.
“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 … [and] as a team we are committed as ever to the remainder of the 2012 season and chasing a [third] Sprint Cup title for Jack and RFR. Although I have nothing to announce regarding 2013, I feel the timing of the announcement gives RFR ample time to get things lined up. … [Darian] and Tony proved to us last year there is no such thing as a ‘lame duck’ season. We will continue to go to work and race hard.”
Stenhouse has five Nationwide Series wins and has made two Sprint Cup starts, with his best result coming in last year in the Coca-Cola 600 driving for the Wood Brothers.
Stenhouse said he’s excited for the opportunity, but he’s under no illusions that he can replace Kenseth in all ways.
“It’s a huge opportunity but a tough one as well, just carrying on the winning ways. I don’t know if you’re going to replace Matt. I just look to add to Roush Fenway and hopefully be there as long as Matt did.” Said Stenhouse.