Thursday, November 23, 2017
Sports

Matt Kenseth likely looking for new team in 2018

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SPARTA, Ky. — NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth said Friday he has no job lined up next year and likely has no future at Joe Gibbs Racing.

"I'm not really worried about it but as of (Friday), I do not have a job for next year. Hope to still be racing," Kenseth said at Kentucky Speedway. "I think I got some wins left in me and hopefully race for championships. Right now, I'm focusing on finishing up this year."

Kenseth, 45, is the 2003 Cup series champion and two-time Daytona 500 winner. He has won 14 races for Gibbs since arriving in 2013, including seven that first season. The 18-year veteran spent his first 13 full-time seasons at Roush Fenway Racing, for which he was rookie of the year in 2000 and won 24 races, including the 2009 and 2012 Daytona 500s.

"I do not think I will have the option to return to race at JGR next year. Unfortunately," Kenseth said.

Erik Jones is likely going to be moved into Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota in 2018 after finishing his one-year contract with Furniture Row Racing, Gibbs' sister team. Jones, 21, said Thursday he hadn't been told what car he'd drive next year but expected Gibbs to decide soon.

Joe Gibbs Racing has not scored a single Monster Energy NASCAR Cup victory with its four drivers.

Kenseth was third in Friday's rain-shortened Cup qualifying for tonight's Quaker State 400 at Sparta, Ky., with a speed of 189.740 mph. Fellow Gibbs driver Kyle Busch set a track record to earn his first pole at Kentucky Speedway, clocking 190.282 in the No. 18 Toyota for his third pole this season and 22nd of his career. Martin Truex Jr. (190.194) will start second.

XFINITY: Friday's scheduled Alsco 300 race at Sparta, Ky., was postponed until today at noon after severe thunderstorms threatened the area. Kyle Busch will begin on the pole, running a fast lap of 181.935 mph to top Erik Jones, who clocked 181.635 to earn the second spot.

FORMULA ONE: Lewis Hamilton will receive a five-place grid drop from wherever he qualifies for Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix after his Mercedes team was penalized for fitting a new gearbox to his car ahead of today's qualifying at Spielberg, Austria. Under F1 rules, a gearbox has to last six consecutive races and the change broke that cycle.

LATE TRUCKS: Christopher Bell overcame an early spin to take the lead by the midpoint and held off Brandon Jones by 0.187 seconds to win the rain-delayed Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 race early Friday at Sparta, Ky.

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