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RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 21:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #6 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford, sits in his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on September 21, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Matt Kenseth to drive the No. 42 for rest of the season; championship waiver granted


UPDATE 2 4-28-2020: NASCAR has approved the Playoff waiver request from Chip Ganassi Racing for Matt Kenseth. He is now eligible to compete for the 2020 NASCAR Cup championship.

UPDATE 4-27-2020: Chip Ganassi Racing announces today that when the NASCAR Cup Series returns to the track for the remainder of the 2020 season, Matt Kenseth will be behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro. Kenseth, the former Cup Series Champion and two-time Daytona 500 Champion, most recently competed full-time at NASCAR’s highest level in 2017, where he finished seventh in the points and won the second to last race of the season at Phoenix Raceway.

The Wisconsin native is a 39-time Cup Series winner and will join a talented group on the No. 42 team, which entered the 2020 season following a best-ever sixth place finish in the 2019 point standings, a fourth consecutive trip to the playoffs, and a playoff race win at Dover International Speedway. With a newly designed Chevrolet Camaro for the 2020 season, the No. 42 team started the year strong, with three top-10 finishes in the first four races.

NOTES OF INTEREST:

  • Running Up Front - With 18 years of experience in the Cup Series, Kenseth has consistently run near the front, averaging 10 top-five and just over 18 top-10 finishes a year in his 18 full-time seasons behind the wheel. During his career, Kenseth posted at least one win in all but four seasons and made the playoffs in all but one season in which he was eligible, finishing his full-time career with eight consecutive appearances.
  • A Winning Attitude: Overall, the former Cup Champion, has 39 Cup wins including the Daytona 500 twice, the Coke 600, the Southern 500 and the All-Star race. He has 181 top-5s and has finished in the top-10 in points in 13 of his 18 seasons. When Kenseth scored his first Dayton 500 victory in 2009, he became only the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win a Cup Series Championship, the Rookie of the Year Award and the Daytona 500 – joining Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, David Pearson, and Richard Petty.
  • Return to Team Chevy: While this marks the first time Kenseth will race with Team Chevy in the Cup Series, he is no stranger to the manufacturer. Kenseth began his racing career in 1988 in a Camaro and made his debut in the NASCAR Southeast Series in 1994 behind the wheel of a Chevrolet, and continued racing Chevrolet’s in the Xfinity Series through the 2001 season.

QUOTEBOARD

  • Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing: "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. We are doing exactly that with Matt. Throughout my time in NASCAR, I have always admired the way Matt Kenseth raced. 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."
  • Matt Kenseth, Driver No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro: "This was an unexpected opportunity for sure. 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. 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. I’m excited to work with Kurt again and to meet all my new CGR team members, and I’m really looking forward to getting back in a Chevrolet. In 1988, I started my career in a Camaro and I can’t wait to finally race a Chevy in the Cup Series. I also need to thank Chip and all his partners for this opportunity. Hopefully we will be on the track soon."

— Chip Ganassi Racing —

AND: Carl Edwards, a former teammate of Kenseth’s at Roush, was also contacted about driving the No. 42 but declined to come out of retirement. As for [Ross] Chastain, who filled in for Ryan Newman for three races before the season was suspended and has been patiently awaiting a full-time Cup ride, Ganassi said: "We’ve got plans for him."

Associated Press

ORIGINAL POST 4-27-2020: Former NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth will again come out of retirement to compete for Chip Ganassi Racing as the replacement for fired driver Kyle Larson.

"I think Matt gives us the best chance to win, run up front and compete for wins," Ganassi told The Associated Press. "I’ve always gone with the mantra of trying to take the best driver available, and he’s the best driver available right now. And he brings something to our sponsors that they need right now. Stability. No baggage. Family man. Daytona 500 winner. Championship winner."

Ganassi said the team will petition NASCAR for a waiver to make Kenseth, the 2003 Cup champion, eligible to race for the title this season. NASCAR completed just four of its 36 races before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Associated Press