Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 10/14/14

HAMPTON, GA - SEPTEMBER 05: Matt Kenseth driver of the #17 R&L Carriers Ford, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2009 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Matt Kenseth announced today that he will pilot the No. 20 Toyota in 2013 for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth will fill the seat currently occupied by Joey Logano. With Kenseth coming that means Logano is out next season and JGR president J.D. Gibbs made it sound today that Logano would be heading to Penske's No. 22 ride next season.

Gibbs said, "Logano wasn't thrilled, but his idea was to have Joey go down to Nationwide for a year and regroup." The second generation Gibbs also said, "Logano couldn't pass up the chance to drive the No. 22 car next year at Penske."

That pretty much confirms that Hornish Jr., who is driving the 22 on an interim basis, is out of the ride in 2013 and will either be back in the No. 12 Nationwide ride or have to go elsewhere. I think he will be at Penske still, but back in IndyCar. There's also a chance he could slide into a third Cup ride at Penske, but sponsorship would be hard to come by.

Hornish is running the best he has ever run in NASCAR. He's in the title hunt for the Nationwide Series championship and has been running extremely well since taking over the No. 22 ride in July. If Penske, who loves Hornish, doesn't have the confidence to put Hornish in the ride over Logano, who only has two career wins and has yet to make a Chase, then he probably never will.

Why put Hornish back in the Nationwide series? Penske has Ryan Blaney and Parker Kligermann as development drivers who will need to move up soon. With Brad Keselowski and now reportedly Joey Logano, why would Penske want to make Hornish the third option again in Cup, especially when it didn't work the first time? I would think Roger would want Blaney or Kligermann up soon so it appears Hornish's NASCAR time clock has run out.

Now, Hornish could come back to the IZOD IndyCar Series. He has three titles there along with an Indianapolis 500 victory, and the series would welcome him back with open arms. Hornish is the American that the series needs and should have no problem getting sponsorship needed to take over for Ryan Briscoe, who will be out at Penske after the race in Fontana.

Imagine a team of Hornish Jr., Will Power and Helio Castroneves. That's back to the "super team" Penske is used to having in the series. I think Penske wants what's best for Hornish and that move is to be back in the seat of an IndyCar. It's a win/win move for everyone involved and I think the decision was made today without coming right out and saying it.


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