NASCAR Race Weekend Central
(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Matt Kenseth Replacing Kyle Larson in Cup No. 42

Matt Kenseth will return to the NASCAR Cup Series once the sport returns from its hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak, replacing Kyle Larson in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42, CGR announced today, April 27.

Kenseth replaces Larson after the former driver of the No. 42 was released for saying a racial slur on an iRacing event a few weeks ago.

“I think Matt gives us the best chance to win, run up front and compete for wins,” team owner Chip Ganassi told The Associated Press amid the announcement. “I’ve always gone with the mantra of trying to take the best driver available, and he’s the best driver available right now. And he brings something to our sponsors that they need right now. Stability. No baggage. Family man. Daytona 500 winner. Championship winner.”

Kenseth last drove in the Cup Series in 2018, splitting Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 with Trevor Bayne. In 15 starts, he nabbed two top 10s, both occurring in the final two races of the season.

He last drove full time in the series in 2017, piloting Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 to one win, 10 top fives and 18 top 10s.

The move reunites Kenseth with former Roush teammate Kurt Busch, who drives CGR’s No. 1.

“This was an unexpected opportunity for sure,” Kenseth said later in a team release. “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.

“I know I have a lot of work ahead of me to get up to speed in a relatively short period of time, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m excited to work with Kurt again and to meet all my new CGR team members, and I’m really looking forward to getting back in a Chevrolet.

“In 1988, I started my career in a Camaro and I can’t wait to finally race a Chevy in the Cup Series. I also need to thank Chip and all his partners for this opportunity. Hopefully we will be on the track soon.”

In 665 starts, Kenseth has 39 wins to his credit and was the 2003 Cup champion.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter
I agree to have my personal information transfered to AWeber ( more information )
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

About Kevin Rutherford

Avatar
Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

15 comments

  1. Avatar

    can say i didn’t even see that one coming. figured since ryan was back in the 6 it would had been chasatain.

    • Avatar

      Exactly what I thought too. Why would Ganassi not bring in Ross Chastain since his sub role for Roush seems to be at an end.

    • Avatar

      That’s what I thought too. He wasn’t even on the radar in my mind.

      Wonder if he will be eligible to run for the championship. I’d guess yes, but I personally don’t think he should be allowed.

    • Avatar

      It is probably because if the uncertainty of the schedules in Cup and Xfinity. Ross is going for Xfinity points and a championship, so it makes sense for him to stay there for now,

  2. Avatar

    Matt wasn’t ready to retire when Gibbs forced him out. I think Ross is a good driver but he needs more time to develop right befroe he gets thrown into cup. Matt willl bring depth and experience to CGR. I hope that they let him compete for the championship.

  3. Avatar

    What’s next, Chip adding a third car for Greg Biffle or Mark Martin to continue getting the band back together?
    It’s 2004 all over again.

  4. Avatar

    Wow, knock me over with a feather; did not see this coming. Yes, I like it!

  5. Avatar

    Look out, Joey!!!!! Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the car.

    • Avatar

      LOL hahahaha,,,, I didn’t even think of that. The Sequel…. coming to a track near you…. and this time it’s personal. :) LOL

  6. Avatar

    Matt won his second to last race with Gibbs at Phoenix. I think he and Kurt Busch can really develop the organization for the next generation. They aren’t going to rattle off multiple wins, but given the right circumstances, they’re smart enough drivers to race for a win here or there; Bristol comes to mind….

  7. Avatar

    List of drivers better right now: Justin Haley, AJ Almindinger, Ross Chastain, Landon Cassell, Parker Klingerman, and Christopher Bell

  8. Avatar

    I respectfully disagree Matty. Did you see Chastain stuff his Top 5 car into Preece at Daytona? And ask “Happy” what he thinks of that Florida Bozo.