Last year in November, Matt Kenseth said he had no plans to race again but wasn’t sure whether that plan would last a few months or a couple of years. He ended up joining Roush Fenway in May to run 15 of the final 25 points races, sharing a car with Trevor Bayne.
As Kenseth stood by his car Saturday in the Dover International Speedway garage, the 2003 NASCAR Cup Series champion sounded a little more definitive that he didn’t want to race again.
“I have no plans to drive,” Kenseth said. “I said if I did drive, it probably would be for Roush — I don’t have any plans of doing that though, either. I don’t really have plans to do any driving at this point.”
Kenseth said it was hard to compare his feelings now to a year ago, when he was being replaced at Joe Gibbs Racing and couldn’t land a ride he wanted with another top team.
“At this time last year, I wasn’t really looking for a ride necessarily anymore,” Kenseth said when asked if this is any different than a year ago. “That’s a hard question to answer because that was a different situation. I had really, really good winter months before I came back.”
He said the perspective he has now is different than before because he is just driving part-time and has been more involved with wife, Katie, in raising their daughters, ages 9, 7, 4 and nine months.
“There is good and bad in everything,” Kenseth said. “It was good to come back and see what was going on and work with this a little bit, but it was really good being at home, too, and I’m ready to be home more.
“It’s hard being gone, it’s hard missing all that stuff with the kids growing up and I just don’t want to miss any of it anymore.”
A 39-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series, Kenseth has an average start and average finish of 22nd in driving for Roush Fenway, which brought him in partly to help evaluate the program.
“There’s a lot of things that I enjoyed about it,” Kenseth said about his return. “Certainly, I felt like we were going to perform better than we have up to this point. We’ve had one really good run, one decent run and the rest haven’t been good at all.
“I don’t want to say it’s been a little bit harder, but we haven’t ran as good as I thought. … We haven’t made quite the headway I wish we would have made as soon, but I feel like lately we have made a lot of ground.”
When asked if he would still be involved in some way, maybe as a driver coach, Kenseth quipped, “Have you seen me drive lately?” He said he doesn’t know how much he will be involved in racing, and that he has nothing on the table or in the works.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Kenseth said. “I didn’t think I would be doing this five months ago, either, so who knows?”
The matter-of-fact Kenseth said he isn’t all that emotionally attached as to whether he is getting to make this decision on his own terms.
“I didn’t really miss much [about Cup racing], to be honest with you,” Kenseth said. “I enjoyed being home with the kids and just doing normal things, just things that a lot of people probably dread.
“I enjoyed driving them to school, being part of their lives every day, hearing about their day every day when they get home. Today they have gymnastics meets and soccer games and I’m sitting up here in the rain at Dover. I just feel like I’m in a different place in my life.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!