Chip Ganassi Racing announced Monday afternoon that Matt Kenseth will drive the NASCAR team’s No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro for the remainder of the 2020 season. Kenseth will replace former Cup Series driver Kyle Larson, who was fired by CGR two weeks ago after he used the N-word during an iRacing event.
It was assumed Ross Chastain, a development driver for CGR, would replace Larson, but the team instead tapped former Cup champion and two-time Daytona 500 winner Kenseth.
“I have always said that when we have to fill a driver spot, that I owe it to our team, our partners and our fans to put the best available driver in the car,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a statement. “We are doing exactly that with Matt.”
Kenseth formerly raced for Joe Gibbs Racing and Roush Fenway Racing before he retired from full-time competition with JGR in 2017. He finished that season ranked seventh in points. In 2018, Kenseth returned to the track for 15 races with Roush Fenway. Kenseth, 48, emerges from his temporary retirement to join CGR.
“This was an unexpected opportunity for sure,” Kenseth said in a statement. “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.”
Although Kenseth raced a Toyota ride with JGR and a Ford with RFR, he has experience driving a Chevy. He started his racing career driving a Camaro in 1988 and raced a Chevrolet car in the Xfinity Series through 2001.
“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,” Kenseth said in a statement. “I’m excited to work with Kurt (Busch) again and to meet all my new CGR team members, and I’m really looking forward to getting back in a Chevrolet.”
Kenseth has 18 years of experience in NASCAR’s top series, where he achieved 39 wins.
“Throughout my time in NASCAR, I have always admired the way Matt Kenseth raced,” Ganassi said in a statement. “He has proven to be a consistent winner, strong competitor, and respectful driver, and I’m glad we are able to add another NASCAR champion to the team for the remainder of this season.”
NASCAR completed four of 36 total points races before the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The season is expected to resume mid-May, but there has not been an official announcement on the return date from NASCAR.
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