Matt Kenseth has driver his entire Sprint Cup career for Roush Fenway Racing, winning the championship in 2003 and racking up 22 wins along the way. He was the reason for the Chase, and he's made the Chase in every year of its existence except one.
To top off his list of accomplishments, Kenseth won the Daytona for the second time this February and is currently leading the Sprint Cup championship standings. Suffice it to say, the Cambridge, Wisconsin boy has had a remarkably successful career in the modern era of NASCAR by any standard not known as "Johnson," "Gordon" or "Stewart."
At this point, the obvious questions are: Why are he and RFR parting ways at the conclusion of this season? And what will happen to Kenseth in 2013 and beyond?
There are no obvious answers. We don't yet know what Kenseth will be doing in 2013 and beyond, but it's always fun to speculate. And Jack Roush is certainly happy to have the opportunity to move his up-and-coming star Ricky Stenhouse Jr. up to the Cup level, which will perhaps open a ride at the Nationwide level for Trevor Bayne or another of his young drivers.
But for Kenseth's part, it's unclear what the future will hold. One has to assume that there will be no shortage of teams soliciting the services of such an accomplished and scandal-free driver (unlike, say, Kurt Busch, a former RFR driver himself).
Perhaps Richard Childress will expand his Cup operations to four cars (yet again), or maybe a seat will become available at Joe Gibbs Racing or another top-level team. At any rate, Kenseth won't be going into an early retirement unless that is his own choice, and I don't see that happening.
It's an interesting situation and it will be fascinating to see what developments will follow in the upcoming weeks. If Kenseth displaces a driver in another ride, who might it be? Jeff Burton at RCR? Joey Logano at JGR? Perhaps a fourth car at Michael Waltrip Racing, as a safer option than Brian Vickers in that seat, as has been discussed in recent days?
If something like that happens, could there be a domino effect in the Sprint Cup garage with a scramble of drivers hoping to land rides before it's too late?
Only time will tell, so stay tuned to Sports-at-Work for coverage as events unfold!