Why Matt Kenseth? You remember the famous move from Roush Fenway Racing and then the more famous move of Carl Edwards to Joe Gibbs Racing, don’t you? Both escaped what they thought was an uncompetitive situation at RFR to the promised land of Toyota’s top team. What happened next was shock after shock.
Both drivers had success at JGR, but Edwards decided he didn’t want to race anymore, suspiciously after the season was over and Gibbs had to scramble to field Edwards’ car for 2017. Did Edwards see the writing on the wall? Kenseth has won races for the Gibbs organization and raced for championships, but the talent there had to have Kenseth looking over his shoulder. Erik Jones was given a ride with Gibbs farm team, Furniture Row, but an announcement later in the 2017 season meant only one thing. Someone had to go because Gibb’s best recruit, Jones, was going to get a ride somewhere and with Furniture Row not having sponsorship, someone had to let go.
Kenseth was secure at Roush Fenway, but he went where the grass was greener. One could say Edwards was in the same position. You could envision a team of Kenseth, Edwards, and Stenhouse if Kenseth and Edwards had not gone to greener pastures. The performance wouldn’t have been as good, but they would all be employed and the experience of Kenseth and Edwards would have been beneficial to RFR and Stenhouse.
Those decisions have been made, but two drivers who had had success everywhere are now gone. One has to hate it for Matt and Carl. With so many youngsters now pushing for a ride in NASCAR’s top series, the fate of older drivers are in danger. It didn’t have to be that way, and it will continue. I’ve heard the term, “It’s business” so often that it makes me wonder where it will end or if it should.
This business, which was once family, is no more. Edwards saw that and decided he had enough. Kenseth hung on and got the ax Edwards avoided. I still think Kenseth is capable, and many others teams do too, but the assumed deal he has been used to at Roush and Gibbs was not available and neither was the performance. NASCAR is less attractive with the loss of Edwards and Kenseth. It’s just business.