Matt Kenseth likely done at Joe Gibbs Racing at end of year

NASCAR veteran Matt Kenseth announced Friday that it is unlikely he will return to Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2018 Cup Series season. I think he's going to come to North Carolina for a little bit so hopefully we have time to really go through it and figure out exactly what needs to be done. I think I've some wins left in me, and hopefully I can race for championships. It's a far cry from a year ago, when Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch won seven of the first 12 races. One possibility is replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr.at Hendrick Motorsports.

Kenseth and Earnhardt were both rookies in 2000, but Earnhardt doesn't expect his fellow driver to follow him into retirement just yet. Instead, Earnhardt talked about his confusion why Kenseth wouldn't have a ride set.

"So for me, I've been really happy at Furniture Row, and it's been a steady group of guys over there that I think work really well together".

"I'm just driving. For the most part, for me, whether - I don't know where I'm going to be yet".

"Matt will get a job. It has not been a good year at all, not almost up to my standards or my team's standards", he said.

Kenseth is trying to land a ride for a 19th consecutive season.

Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole is winless so far this year in the Cup series, noticeably sluggish to start the season and behind in terms of speed. Erik Jones is likely going to be moved into that vehicle from Furniture Row Racing, the Gibbs sister team.

Kenseth says he's seen it all, so nothing in racing surprises him ... but in his heart of hearts, he must be stunned by JGR's struggles. His 2003 championship was the last under the old full-schedule format, before NASCAR concocted the Chase and the playoffs and stage racing and all manner of confusing points systems. He has a three-point lead on Joey Logano for the final playoff spot.

With the comments from Kenseth, the domino about silly season is about to fall.

"I'm not really anxious about it, but as of today I do not have a job for next year, so I certainly hope to still be racing", Kenseth, 45, said before Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Kentucky Speedway.

"Our performance hasn't been as good as it needs to be either, but as far as how bad the finishes are and how many DNFs (four) we have and everything, I mean that's a lot of circumstances and execution and being in the right place and that type of thing". But I feel we're definitely in the upswing.

  • Geraldine Cohen