Matt Kenseth returns! Reports are out that the 2003 champion will return to Roush Fenway Racing to drive the number six car on a part-time it will re-unite him with the organization where he enjoyed his greatest successes before moving on to Joe Gibbs Racing.
While he wasn’t exactly knocking it dead in 2017, it would have been a stretch to say Matt Kenseth was washing up. His release from JGR was nothing more than a means for opening up a ride for Erik Jones, a young driver with greater potential for drawing sponsors targeting the youth market. It was just business.
Kenseth will apparently share his new ride with Trevor Bayne. No one likes Bayne more than this fan, but it just hasn’t been happening for the winner of the 2011 Daytona 500. To be fair, RFR teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hasn’t exactly lit it up this season either.
This move give Roush Fenway some leadership and expertise. If Matt Kenseth can win it, the it’s more about your car than it is your driver. Though not the most vocal man in the garage, he has a presence about him, reminiscent of Mark Martin, a leader at Roush during Kenseth’s early career.
Not only is Matt Kenseth not really all that old at 46, it hasn’t been long since his last race. You don’t forget how to win overnight. The inference in all that’s been released so far is that this is a part-time gig, so he’ll still have a certain amount of his newfound freedom.
How long will it last? How productive will it be? There’s no way of knowing. Roush lost their status as the flagship team for Ford years ago. They’re not even the SECOND best Blue Oval team now. All you can do if you’re the Cat In The Hat is take a chance and see where it leads. It’s a pretty low risk proposition.
Do you get the feeling we’re watching another Mark Martin story unfold? The circumstances and the driver are different. One just wonders where the road could lead if Matt Kenseth is successful.
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It’s become a fair question to ask: where does Kyle Busch stand among the greats of NASCAR? It’s not a crazy question to ask anymore. Just start with the stats, and he already has a Hall of Fame resume with plenty of gas left in the tank.
With his Saturday night win at Richmond, Kyle Busch has 46 Cup victories. That total has taken him past such luminaries as Mark Martin and Bill Elliott. NASCAR pioneer Buck Baker had 46 victories. Herb Thomas, Tony Stewart and Junior Johnson are all on his radar. More importantly, he’s won a championship at the Cup level in 2015. Since then, he’s finished third and second at season’s end. During the course of his career, the Las Vegas native has finished outside the top ten for the season four times. Short tracks, intermediates, road courses and superspeedways, Kyle Busch has won them all.
This is to say nothing of what he’s done in the Xfinity and truck series. It’s easy to downplay that success, but underscores the varied talents of the one they call Rowdy.
Because of his tempestuous nature and because he races in a Toyota (something old school fans still have a problem with) Kyle Busch will likely never have universal acceptance. That’s ok, not everybody loved Dale Earnhardt or Jeff Gordon.
Whether it’s his mastery of re-starts, his fearlessness, his ambition or any number of different things, the stock of Kyle Busch continues to rise on the all-time lists. This doesn’t mean you have to like him; in fact, it’s good for the sport you don’t. There needs to be that black hat to offset the white hats. Right now, an excellent battle for supremacy is brewing between Busch and Kevin Harvick- two former champions with a bit of a bitter history.
He’s now tied for 15th all-time for wins, can we at least say Kyle Busch is a top 15 all-time? Heck, I’d say he may even be a top ten.
All that being said, and as a fan, I don’t root for the guy.
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Future Chevy or Future Ford? pic.twitter.com/NBnx9K6xTL