Matt Kenseth will return to NASCAR Cup Series competition with Chip Ganassi Racing as the new driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet.
The 2003 Cup Series champion replaces Kyle Larson, who was released by Ganassi on April 14. Larson used a racial slur while competing in an iRacing event on Easter Sunday, which was broadcast on the public player audio and on a Twitch Livestream. By the end of the following day, Larson had been dropped by his three major sponsors and Chevrolet, as well as indefinitely suspended by NASCAR.
Kenseth will complete the 2020 season in the No. 42 car, and will be reunited with former Roush Fenway teammate to Kurt Busch.
“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,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “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.”
Now 48, Kenseth last ran a Cup Series race in 2018 while running a partial schedule for Roush Fenway Racing. He parted with Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of 2017 after five seasons.
In 665 starts in the Cup Series, Kenseth has 39 career wins, including two Daytona 500 victories. This marks the first time that Kenseth will compete in the Cup Series in a Chevrolet.
“This was an unexpected opportunity for sure,” said Kenseth. “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.”