Five months after leaving the sport, Matt Kenseth is back driving in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Monday night, SB Nation’s Jordan Bianchi reported Kenseth has been signed by old employer Roush Fenway Racing. He’ll team up with Trevor Bayne to share the No. 6 Ford for the rest of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season beginning at Kansas next month.
Kenseth, 46, drove the No. 17 RFR car from 1999-2012. He earned 24 wins with the team, including two Daytona 500 trophies (2009, 2012) and also earned the 2003 Cup Series championship. He left the team after the 2012 season to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Kenseth was successful at JGR but became the odd man out in a sponsorship and driver shuffle. 2017 Rookie of the Year Erik Jones replaced him at the No. 20 team for 2018, leaving the popular veteran without a ride. Kenseth, sensing the end took pictures with longtime friend and fellow retiree Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Homestead last November. Both men believed it was their last Cup start but Kenseth made clear he’s still interested in racing if the right opportunity came along.
It appears that now it has. Bayne, who suffers from multiple sclerosis has struggled during his time driving full-time at RFR. The 2011 Daytona 500 winner has just five top-five finishes overall in 175 MENCS starts. He’s without a top-10 finish this season and sits 26th in the standings, some 66 points outside the NASCAR playoffs. The 27-year-old hasn’t even led a lap in the series since Daytona last July.
Roush Fenway Racing said they will make an official announcement Wednesday afternoon at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.