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Matt Kenseth on driving No. 88 car: ‘I don’t feel like that’s going to be an opportunity’

Matt Kenseth finished fourth at New Hampshire for his first top-five finish in the last seven races. Did his pit road gamble cost him a win or was the No. 20's aggressiveness the right call?

Matt Kenseth, who does not have a ride for 2018, said he doesn’t believe he’ll take over the No. 88 car Dale Earnhardt Jr. vacates after this season.

Rookie Erik Jones will take over Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 ride after this year. With Earnhardt making this his final full-time Cup season, it’s led some to wonder if Kenseth would move over to Hendrick Motorsports and drive that car. Car owner Rick Hendrick was coy about his plans for the No. 88 car last weekend at New Hampshire.

Kenseth, the 2003 Cup champion, was asked Monday night on “The Late Shift” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio if he’ll drive the No. 88 car next year:

“I just don’t know,’' Kenseth told co-hosts Kenny Wallace and Brad Gillie. “I don’t feel like that’s going to be an opportunity I’m going to have. I really I don’t know. I really honestly don’t have anything lined up for sure. I will say that I’m not really that worried about it. I’m not really losing sleep over it. I’m not that concerned about next season.

“I’m glad that we got it all out, got it out in the open so that everybody knows what everybody is doing and we can just kind of get it behind us and go racing. It’s only July and there is a ton of racing left to do. Got a lot of things we still want to accomplish with the 20. It’s been a great four-and-a-half years, and I certainly want the last four or five months to be great as well.

“Really nothing to feel bad about. Just go work hard and race hard and try to win some races. I feel like that I’m in one of the best cars in the garage. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. I’ve got a great opportunity in front of me here these next few months to go out and win some races and hopefully go race for another championship.

“Everything is there that we need. It’s all there in right in front of us. Not every driver can say that they got the opportunity to be in those cars. I think to get distracted and think about and talk about and worry about next year, it would really be taking away from what we’re trying to do right now.’'

Kenseth is coming off a fourth-place finish last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He holds the final playoff spot with seven races left until the playoffs begin. Kenseth, who has 38 career Cup victories, has gone 36 races without a win.

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