Nearly six months after involuntarily giving up his steering wheel at Joe Gibbs Racing (pictured), Matt Kenseth returns to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this weekend.
Kansas Speedway will see Kenseth make his first appearance for Roush Fenway Racing in the No. 6 Ford. It was announced last month he will be splitting the ride with Trevor Bayne the rest of the year. Looking to improve overall company performance, Kenseth, 2003 Cup Series champion, begins his evaluation at the slick 1.5-miler.
“My goal is to help the team improve, so the first thing I need to do is understand where we’re at currently,” Kenseth said. “I really won’t know that until we start turning some laps and working together, and for me, that starts Friday morning.”
Bayne has the No. 6 Ford 29th in the standings without a top-10 finish. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has two top-10 finishes and is 16th in points.
Stenhouse won two races last year and qualified for the playoffs. Bayne wound up 22nd in points. A Stenhouse appearance in the playoffs was the first time a Roush car had qualified since 2014.
Kenseth will also be in the car next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the All-Star Race, and NBC Sports reports Kenseth is also expected to drive the car in the Coca-Cola 600 and then at Pocono Raceway and Michigan International Speedway.
Kansas is a good place for Kenseth to start, as he has three poles and two wins at the speedway. Ironically, his last win with Roush came at Kansas in the fall of 2012 the last time he drove for the team. In 24 Kansas starts, Kenseth has 13 top-10 finishes and has led nearly 800 laps.
“Kansas has been a good track for me over the years,” said Kenseth. “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.”