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NASCAR Cup: Matt Kenseth plans time off

Matt Kenseth (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Matt Kenseth (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran Matt Kenseth has hinted at not racing in 2018. He’s not declaring himself retired at 2017 season’s end, though.

“Yeah, that’s accurate,” Kenseth said Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway when asked if he was not looking for opportunities to race next season. “I mean, I just – yeah, that’s pretty accurate. I’m not committing to anything for 2018. I’m just gonna – I don’t know. I mean the retirement word doesn’t really make a lot of sense in this sport really because there’s, it’s not like the NFL where you get a pension if you officially retire or you do any of that stuff. Mostly it’s for people like (Dale Earnhardt) Jr. that got to fill the seat and have a sponsor and all that stuff. For me, it’s just different, because I didn’t really have that option. My seat got filled before, before any of that, so there’s really no reason to talk about it. I’ll just take some time off, whatever that means. I don’t know if that’s a year, two years, three months, four months, I mean, you never know what happens. Maybe  something comes along that really makes you excited, and it feels like it’s going to be a fit, you might go do. Certainly not gonna rule that out, but for now, I’m not making any plans for 2018. I just plan on having some time off.”

Erik Jones will replace Kenseth behind the wheel of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in 2017, moving to that seat from the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. Jones was already under contract with JGR, and that relationship put him in FRR’s No. 77 this season, Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing are closely aligned.

Before Hendrick Motorsports named William Byron as the driver to replace Kasey Kahne in the No. 5 Chevrolet next year, Kenseth though that ride was a possible opportunity.

“That was one I thought maybe I would get and, hopefully, go over there and get that car running better,” Kenseth said. “I felt like I could really do that and,  maybe, mentor some of the young drivers coming along, and that didn’t work out, either,” Kenseth said. “Probably after that happened, that should have been the cold water in my face that, ‘All right, you need to accept it and do the best you can this year and figure out what you’re going to do next year and move on.’”

The current NASCAR landscape points at Kenseth joining the likes of Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards as drivers on the sidelines but not officially retired. Edwards’ situation, though, judging from an announcement he made in January, appears to be closer to actual retirement from racing, although he refused to use the word “retirement,” as he didn’t suggest a return to racing, given the right opportunity, as much as the other two. Also, Edwards chose to walk away, while Kenseth and Biffle’s times off seem more related to a lack of opportunities for aging drivers.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer).

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Posted by on November 4, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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