Matt Kenseth feels comfortable with his future beyond this season
RICHMOND, Va. — Former Cup champion Matt Kenseth won’t say that his driving career will end when he climbs from the car after the season finale at Homestead.
But he does say if he races again, it will be for one team only.
Kenseth’s tenure in the No. 6 car will end after this season by choice.
“We kind of knew ’19 was kind of a crapshoot, was kind of up in the air on what we wanted to do there,” Kenseth told NBC Sports before the drivers meeting Saturday at Richmond Raceway. “It’s been good for me. Time at home was really, really good. I’m really enjoying (wife) Katie and the kids and the ages they are and everything.
“There’s no way I could go full-time and do that at high level. I can’t do both at a high level. My priorities are just different than they were 15 years ago.”
Kenseth has four daughters age 9 and under.
Roush Fenway Racing announced Saturday that Ryan Newman will drive the No. 6 car next season.
Roush Fenway Racing brought Kenseth back in April to help the organization become more competitive. He has shared the No. 6 car with Trevor Bayne since May. Kenseth’s best finish in 10 races this season is 12th at Indianapolis.
“I wish I could help more,” Kenseth told NBC Sports. “I feel like we have made a lot of improvements, actually and helped identify things and upgrade a lot of things. When I first talked to Jack, the plan was this year to come in and evaluate the car for these 15 or 16 races, evaluate the team, kind of see if I could help a little bit and we did all of that.”
Roush said Kenseth has played a key part in improving the team.
“We’ve been on a path of constant improvement,” Roush said. “We were improving and changing our cars in ways that had some benefit before Matt got involved, but Matt brought to us a sense of what was happening on all four corners of the car. He sat in the car initially and said it didn’t feel right, and he identified the issues he had with what was happening with the front of the car and the back of the car.
“There were questions that were on the list of things we were going to explore that we hadn’t prioritized that we prioritized at his suggestion. That’s manifested … in having extremely competitive cars at Bristol and Indy.”
So what’s next for Kenseth?
“I still hope to be a part of Roush Fenway Racing, where it all started,” said Kenseth, who raced full-time in Cup for Roush from 2000-12 and scored 24 of his 39 career Cup wins there.
“I think it’s cool to end it there. I’m looking forward to still being a part of the company. You never know what’s going to pop up. Maybe something will pop up where you need to run a few races and there’s some opportunities.”
Asked if he’s looking for a ride for next year, Kenseth said: “No. If I drove anything it would be for Jack.”