On one hand, the news has gotten better for Joe Gibbs Racing, which finally snapped its skid Sunday with Denny Hamlin’s win in the Overton’s 301. But even as things appear to be turning around for his team, JGR driver Matt Kenseth’s career prospects continue to wave in the breeze.
Kenseth still doesn’t have any certainty about where — or if — he’ll be driving beyond this season. But he reportedly has a few veteran drivers in his corner.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson are “lobbying hard” for Kenseth to join Hendrick Motorsports, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio host Dave Moody reported Monday, citing multiple sources. This isn’t the first time Kenseth has been linked to HMS, which is set to lose the extremely popular Earnhardt to retirement and is expected to part ways with Kasey Kahne at the end of the season.
“Kenseth is unlikely to remain unemployed for long,” Moody wrote. “He has been linked with the No. 10 Ford at Stewart-Haas Racing, should Danica Patrick not return to that ride next season. And multiple sources say that both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson are lobbying hard for Kenseth to replace Earnhardt at Hendrick Motorsports, when Earnhardt steps away from full-time competition at season’s end.”
The status of Kenseth, 45, has been the No. 1 topic of conversation in NASCAR’s “silly season” ever since it was announced that Erik Jones will replace him in the No. 20 Toyota in 2018.
If Kenseth were to sign with HMS, he wouldn’t be a long-term tenant of the team’s Charlotte, N.C., headquarters. With William Byron or Alex Bowman waiting in the wings to claim a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ride when they’re ready, Kenseth likely would be a two-year stopgap for the team, at best.
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