Kenseth Announces New Home

Matt Kenseth

“Surprise,” Kenseth joked at the beginning of the announcement. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

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HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - Matt Kenseth finally made it official on Tuesday that he will drive the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing starting in the 2013 Sprint Cup Series.

After announcing in June that he would depart Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season, Kenseth was linked with the move to JGR but wasn't allowed to disclose one of the worst-kept secrets until today.

"Surprise," Kenseth said as he walked onto the stage during the announcement at Joe Gibbs Racing headquarters.  "I'm looking forward to this opportunity - the next chapter of my career, coming here and trying to win more races and another championship.  This is a championship team and I'm excited to be a part of it."

Jason Ratcliff will be the crew chief for Kenseth.  Along with his first Sprint Cup win this past June with Joey Logano, Ratcliff has captured 36 victories while calling the shots in the Nationwide Series for the past 11 years.

"I don't know Jason very well.  I've talked to him just a few times," Kenseth said.  "I know a lot about him, what he's accomplished in the sport and all the races he's won."

Home Depot and Dollar General will split primary sponsorship of Kenseth's No. 20 with the number of races for each yet to be determined.

Logano, who began his career as a full-time Sprint Cup Series driver behind the wheel of the No. 20 back in 2009, will now head to Penske Racing.  JGR was planning to run Logano full-time in Nationwide with some Cup races next season, but when the No. 22 seat came open at Penske they knew it would be hard to keep him.  (See Also: Logano to Join Penske in 2013)

"We love Joey.  He's been here a long time," said Team President J.D. Gibbs.  "At the same time, we understand when he has the opportunity there it's hard to pass that up."

Gibbs has fielded the No. 20 with Home Depot since 1999.  Kenseth will become just the third driver to pilot the car with Tony Stewart being the other, winning two series titles and 33 races behind the wheel.

JGR is planning to run three NASCAR Nationwide Series teams next season with Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and an array of young drivers sharing one ride.  Elliott Sadler, who currently leads the Nationwide standings with Richard Childress Racing, could be headed to the team next season with sponsor One Main Financial.  Brian Scott currently drives full-time for JGR.

"(For) the two other cars, we're not at the point where we can say 'Here's what we are going to do, here's what it's going to look like,' " Gibbs said.  "We're still having a lot of conversations.  But there would be two full-time rides going for the championship."

Kenseth, who has spent his entire Cup career with RFR, has made 461 starts with 22 wins and the 2003 series title.

"I've been blessed my whole career," he said.  "I've been with RFR for 15 years and it's been a competitive organization, we won some races and have done some good things."

Among the contenders for this year's championship, Kenseth hopes he can go out on top with Roush Fenway before making the move to JGR.

"We still have 11 races to go and we're pretty competitive," Kenseth said.  "I feel good about what we've done over there.  We did make the Chase here two weeks early, which is great.  I'm 100 percent committed to Roush until the end of the season."

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Matt Kenseth

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