Kenseth on why he left Roush
Driver Matt Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, joined host Steve Byrnes and NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED tonight following yesterday’s announcement that he’s slated to leave Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the 2012 season.
Kenseth, who’s also the current point’s leader, talked about the move, what the rest of this season could bring and what lies ahead in the future;
Steve Byrnes: There aren’t many surprises in this sport, but that was a shocker yesterday. This weekend you were asked if you had anything to report and you said, “No.” How did this all happen? How did this happen this quickly, this week?
Matt Kenseth: I didn’t have anything to report. Everything happened fairly quick, the timing of the release from Roush was really up to them. They wanted to get that out as soon as possible. Everything came together kind of quickly, but in another way, it’s something that’s been going on all season.
Byrnes: Was this your decision to make a move? I could envision you; a lot of people could, literally retiring at Roush Fenway, spending your entire career there. Some athletes are able to do that, some aren’t, but was this your decision? Or was this Roush Fenway saying we need to go in a younger direction? What actually happened there?
Kenseth: I’ve always envisioned retiring at Roush Fenway Racing as well. There are a lot of things that happened – and things that didn’t happen – that probably got us to where we are at. I think, at the end of the day, I’m excited (about) what’s ahead of me, not just this season, but starting next year as well. I think long term; this will probably be good for Roush Fenway Racing as well, to get Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.) in there and kind of maybe work on the future there. It was a tough conversation to have with Jack (Roush) and I have a ton of respect for him. Without Jack, Mark Martin and Robbie Reiser, I would never be sitting here (and) never had been able to drive Cup cars. I’m looking forward to racing the rest of the year, hopefully keeping the 17 up front, and finishing our relationship there on a high note.
Byrnes: Where will you be driving in 2013?
Kenseth: Well Steve, you know I can’t tell you that. That’s the other half of the story we can’t talk about yet, so hopefully, we’ll jump over that hurdle sooner than later and be able to put together some kind of announcement, to let everybody know what’s ahead for me in 2013 and beyond. We kind of know where Roush is at with some of the things they have lined up.
Byrnes: How do you keep your arms around this great team? You’re the point’s leader, how do you keep this team together, and focused on winning that championship?
Kenseth: You said a great team, and I think that’s one of the key words. I’ve been really blessed my whole career to have great people around me. Great race team, great leadership… Jimmy (Fennig) does a great job leading that team. Jimmy gives a hundred percent every week, as well as the rest of the team. Great leadership with Robbie Reiser down there running the whole shop (with) the performance part, Doug (Yates) and (those) guys building great engines. I just don’t see anybody giving up. If anything, it’s probably more motivation for (those) guys to run good. This business is, unfortunately, a lot different than some other sports with so many moving pieces to put stuff together. You just really can’t get it put together much later than this. I’m looking forward to racing the rest of the year. I’m looking forward to getting some of this stuff behind us, so we can get focused back on going out there and driving the 17 car, hopefully keeping it up front and challenging for a championship.