Matt Kenseth will make his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series appearance since November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kenseth, joining Roush Fenway Racing on a part-time basis to split the No. 6 Ford with driver Trevor Bayne, has two career wins in NASCAR’s premier series at Kansas.
Kenseth re-joins Roush Fenway Racing after leaving for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013 to pilot the No. 20 Toyota. Before joining the Toyota team, Kenseth scored 24 wins in the premier series under the Roush banner in the No. 17 Ford. In his time at Joe Gibbs Racing, before being replaced by Erik Jones this season, the Wisconsin native scored 15 victories -- including seven in his first year there. The goal for the series veteran is to help improve Roush Fenway Racing as a whole moving forward.
“My goal is to help the team improve, so the first thing I need to do is understand where we’re at currently,” said Kenseth. “I really won’t know that until we start turning some laps and working together, and for me, that starts Friday morning. Kansas has been a good track for me over the years. We’ve won there before with RFR. But, right now, I’m just looking forward to getting back to the track and getting to work."
The start at Kansas will be the first time in six-months that Kenseth has strapped into a NASCAR stock car. Kenseth offered a preview of what he has been doing to get back into the driver routine ahead of the KC Masterpiece 400.
“Honestly, not much with the testing policies and all that, so I haven’t been in a car at all since Homestead last year. So, really, not much,” said Kenseth. “Besides all the mental prep that you can do with notes and film and things like that, but as far as the driving, really nothing. My training has been the same or probably more than last year because I’ve had more time, so physically there’s nothing really different – just kind of getting the mental stuff ready – but didn’t get a chance to get in the car at all. I was hoping I could get in a car and at least drive one a little bit and get acclimated with their systems and kind of the way they do things, but that’s what I’m looking forward to here in about an hour or so I guess.”
Matt Puccia will continue serving as the crew chief of the No. 6 Ford. Puccia led Trevor Bayne to four top five and 11 top 10 finishes since working with the young driver at the start of 2016. The well-known crew chief also worked with Greg Biffle for four and a half seasons in the series.
Roush Fenway Racing currently fields two full-time operations with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne. Stenhouse captured two top five and top 10 finishes coming at Bristol and Talladega this year. The Mississippi native scored two wins last season at Daytona in July and Talladega in October.