Edwards or Kenseth to replace Earnhardt Jr.? (3rd Update)

Matt Kenseth now in the rumor mill
Matt Kenseth now in the #88 rumor mill and his Crew Chief might be coming with him

UPDATE Crew chief Jason Ratcliff will be following driver Matt Kenseth on the way out of the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing's Toyota in 2018 (and possibly to the #88 Hendrick Chevy).

Ratcliff confirmed to NBC Sports after Kenseth's fourth place finish Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that he won't be returning atop the pit box next season when Erik Jones replaces Kenseth.

Ratcliff said he isn't sure if he will stay at Joe Gibbs Racing ("We'll see," he said with a smile), but he expects all of the car's team members are secure at the organization.

Ratcliff has been paired with Kenseth since he joined Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013, scoring 13 victories together. He also won with Joey Logano in 2012. NBC Sports

07/17/17 While nothing’s been officially announced about the future of the No. 88 machine yet, that’s not stopping the rumor mill from churning. Even though many scenarios seem downright made-up, there’s one Toyota driver’s name that continues to surface – Matt Kenseth.

06/24/17 Carl Edwards said he has had no talks about returning to a NASCAR Cup car in 2018. In Sonoma to fulfill a sponsor commitment, Edwards said, "I haven't even considered coming back."

04/29/17 Denny Hamlin met with the media Friday at Richmond International Speedway.

Would Edwards come out of retirement to run for the mighty Hendrick team?
Would Edwards come out of retirement to run for the mighty Hendrick team?

Q: What are the odds, in your opinion, that your former teammate Carl Edwards would come back next year?

Hamlin: "I would just be guessing, but I would say 50 percent. I think that Carl is a competitor. At his age, I'd find it hard to believe that he would just step away and not do it ever again. I think him leaving the window open in his press conference to say he's not retiring, he's just stepping away, I think it depends. I don't know.

"Has anyone found out whether he's having a good time right now or not? I think that would tell the story about whether he's interested in coming back or not. From what I hear from all the retired drivers, it's awesome for like a few months – then you kind of get bored a little bit." Toyota Racing

Leave a Reply