Matt Kenseth is coming out of retirement to drive the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing for the remainder of the 2020 season, CGR confirmed on Monday.
“I have always said that when we have to fill a driver spot, that I owe it to our team, our partners and our fans to put the best available driver in the car. We are doing exactly that with Matt,” Chip Ganassi said in a statement issued on Monday.
Kenseth said in statement: “This was an unexpected opportunity for sure. I can’t say racing was even on my radar two weeks ago. After spending some time thinking about it and all the unique circumstances surrounding all of us right now, it just seemed the timing and the opportunity was perfect to come back.”
Kenseth (48) last competed in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, running a part-time schedule for Roush Fenway Racing.
The 2003 Cup series champion has compiled 39 career series wins throughout his career, including two wins in the Daytona 500. His last win came at Phoenix Raceway in 2017 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Kenseth replaces Kyle Larson, who was suspended by NASCAR and fired by the team on April 14th for using a racial slur during an iRacing event.
NASCAR is looking to return on May 17th at Darlington Raceway, per sources. Kenseth would have to obtain a waiver from NASCAR to be eligible for the playoffs since he hasn’t competed this season.
Larson Fails Post-Qualifying Inspection, Truex on Pole
Despite earning the pole position, Kyle Larson will start from the rear of the field in the Overton’s 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
During post-qualifying inspection, NASCAR found the car to have an unapproved rear deck fin lid. Larson’s time was disallowed. Martin Truex Jr. will start from the pole.
According to NASCAR, the rear deck fin lid passed pre-qualifying inspection, but was considered out of spec in post-race qualifying. The rear deck fin lid was found to have been moved lower during qualifying. The part is not designed to adjust, but NASCAR found that the part was made to adjust.
"Not the way we wanted to get our first pole of the year, but looking forward to starting up front and getting a good pit stall,” said Truex. This will be his first pole of the season. Truex posted a speed of 133.077 mph.
Truex will start from the pole. Jimmie Johnson will start second, Matt Kenseth will start third, Jamie McMurray will start fourth, and Kasey Kahne will round out the top-five.
There will be no further penalties for Larson’s team.
Larson Scored Fourth Pole of 2017 at New Hampshire
Kyle Larson will start from the pole in Sunday’s Overton’s 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the fourth time of 2017.
“Our Target Chevy has been really fast all day. It has a lot of speed. Like I really don’t have to drive that hard and it just makes a lot of speed. So, that is good. We are missing Chad (Johnston, crew chief) this weekend and for the next couple of weeks, so good to rebound with a pole,” said Larson. “That is pretty strong out of our organization. I’ve got a great lineup of guys and gals. Hats off to everybody at the shop. It’s been so much fun this year. I have never really been a great qualifier, but this is our fourth pole of the season.”
The first round of qualifying was delayed for 20 minutes. Despite being delayed, numerous teams were still sitting in the inspection line as the round began. Luckily, all teams were able to pass inspection. Larson was fastest in the round at 133.189 mph. Erik Jones was second fastest at 132.172 mph. Jamie McMurray was third fastest at 132.149 mph. Chase Elliott was fourth fastest at 131.906 mph. Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five at 131.856 mph. All drivers will race in the race on Sunday. Notable drivers who did not advance include Ryan Newman (P25), Austin Dillon (P27), Trevor Bayne (P28), and Danica Patrick (P31).
In the second round of qualifying, Larson was fastest at 133.436 mph. Kyle Busch was second fastest at 132.706 mph. E. Jones was third fastest at 132.370 mph. Martin Truex, Jr. was fourth fastest at 132.287 mph. McMurray rounded out the top-five at 132.222 mph. Notable drivers who did not advance to the final round include Kevin Harvick (P13), Joey Logano (P14), Ryan Blaney (P16), and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (P19).
Larson posted the pole winning speed at 133.324 mph. Truex Jr will start second with his speed of 133.077 mph. Jimmie Johnson will start third with his speed of 132.688 mph. Matt Kenseth will start fourth with his speed of 132.324 mph. McMurray rounded out the top-five with his speed of 132.071 mph. Kahne, E. Jones, Ky. Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Kurt Busch round out the top-10.
The Overton’s 301 will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network beginning at 3:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 16th.
Truex Jr. Dominates At Kentucky
SPARTA, Ky-- In dominating fashion and battling NASCAR Overtime, Martin Truex Jr. was victorious in the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway. Truex led a total of 152 laps.
“I thought we were dead. I thought we were done. It’s just – this is completely unbelievable. I’m so excited to win here. It felt like we had a shot last year and it got away from us on fuel mileage and just wanted to win here so so bad after that. This is sweet redemption," said Truex Jr. "I got to say hi to Sherry (Pollex) back home. She didn’t make it this weekend, so I love you babe. And all these awesome fans, thank you guys so much for coming out. What an awesome crowd. I hope they enjoyed it and that was a whole lot of fun. “
This is Truex Jr's 10th career win. This is his third career win of 2017. He scores his 12th stage win of the season.
After starting in the back of the field due to inspection issues in qualifying and receiving a penalty on pit road in the early stages of the race, Kyle Larson finished second.
“Yeah, I sped on pit road there early. At the end of that first stage, so it felt very similar to Texas earlier this year. Didn’t get to qualify, had a pit road penalty at the end of the first stage. Went from the back to the front and then we had scuffs on one run and got the balance off pretty bad, but were able to put stickers on and charge back to the front. The Target Chevy was good," said Larson. "Truex though, never got to see him that last run he was upwards of 15 seconds ahead of us. That was pretty crazy. He has definitely been the fastest car all year. So, got some work to do, but if we can keep chasing him, I think we can beat him.”
Chase Elliott finished third after being a silent contender for much of the race.
"I had a really good roll there. Got to the bottom of the No. 77 and got far enough up next to him to get underneath him into (Turn) 1 and that got us a couple more spots there which was nice. From where we started the night to where we ended up was a big improvement with our Napa Chevrolet," said Elliott "Happy we could just execute well tonight. I don’t think we were as good at Martin (Truex, Jr.) or Kyle (Larson), but we did our jobs on pit road and I made the most of a good car.”
Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-10.
Only nine drivers finished on the lead lap. There were 10 lead changes among four different drivers. There were nine cautions for 39 laps. The time of race was two hours, 57 minutes, and 55 seconds. The average speed was 138.604 mph.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Overton's 301. The race will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network at 3:00 p.m EDT.
Poole Scores Pole at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Brennan Poole will start from the pole in today’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 from Daytona International Speedway.
In the first round of qualifying, Ben Kennedy was fastest at 182.593 mph. Blake Koch was second fastest at 182..460 mph. Joey Logano was third fastest at 182.234 mph. William Byron was fourth fastest at 182.205 mph. Matt Tifft rounded out the top-five at 182.190 mph. Notable drivers who did not advance to the second round were Erik Jones (P14), Ty Dillon (P15), Cole Custer (P19), and Justin Allgaier (P25).
In the final round of qualifying, Poole posted a lap fast enough for the pole at 182.949 mph. Kennedy will start second with his speed of 182.793 mph. Byron will start third with his speed of 182.626 mph. Koch will start fourth with his speed of 182.508 mph. Daniel Hemric will start fifth with his speed of 182.474 mph.
The Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 from Daytona will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Motor Racing Network at 7:30 p.m. EDT.