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Veteran Matt Kenseth said he was unsure if he’d be driving in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, but if he is it likely will not be with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Kenseth, 45, currently drives the No. 20 Toyota for JGR and was asked about his future during a press conference Friday morning at Kentucky Speedway.
“I’m not really worried about it but as of today, I do not have a job for next year,” Kenseth said. “I hope to still be racing. … I don’t have anything lined up at this moment for 2018. I haven’t worked on anything real hard. But I do not think I will have the option to return to race at JGR next year, unfortunately.”
Thought to be in the final year of his contract, Kenseth’s name has been linked to the impending open No. 88 ride at Hendrick Motorsports. The logic is that Kenseth would replace the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. in that car, paving the way for Erik Jones to join Joe Gibbs Racing — and stay in the Toyota stable — in the No. 20.
When asked about possibly driving the No. 88, Kenseth said: “I probably already said too much about what I’m not doing next year.”
Earnhardt was asked about Kenseth’s reveal during his afternoon press availability at Kentucky on Friday.
“Matt will get a job,” Earnhardt said. “He’s so good and so talented that he’ll be in a great car with a great opportunity next year no less than what he has this year.”
Kenseth currently is the final seed in the 2017 playoff field. He’s winless this year, but has 38 career victories at NASCAR’s top level and has been a full-time driver in the Monster Energy Series since 2000.