By: Toby Christie, Editor – Follow on twitter @Toby_Christie
FORT WORTH, Texas — On the heels of a report from NBC Sports, where Matt Kenseth told Nate Ryan in an interview for the NBC Sports NASCAR Podcast that he would not race in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series in 2018, Kenseth met with media outside the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing hauler at the conclusion of final practice for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500.
Kenseth laughed when he was asked about his announcement of retirement.
“I don’t know if it’s necessarily an announcement,” Kenseth explained. “It just seems it’s time, in November. Everybody keeps asking about it, it’s just probably time to do something different.”
This begs the question, is Kenseth no longer searching for a ride for the 2018 season?
“Yeah. That’s accurate. I’m not commiting to anything for 2018,” Kenseth said. “The retirement word doesn’t make a lot of sense in this sport, really becasue it’s not like the NFL where you get a pension if you officially retire or you do anything like that stuff.”
Kenseth continued by saying he was going to step away, but he refused to say that he would officially close the book on his NASCAR career.
“I’m going to take some time off, whatever that means. I don’t know if that’s a year, two years, three months, four months. You never know what happens to me,” Kenseth said. “Something comes along that really makes you excited that seems like it’d be a fit and you might go do. And I won’t rule that out, but for now I’m not making any plans for 2018. I’m planning on taking some time off.”
While he will enjoy time with his family, Kenseth did seem flustered with not going out on his own terms — like other drivers of his era (Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon) have had the chance to do.
“Obviously it’s not a situation I wanted to be in. I don’t — in a lot of ways I don’t feel like I’m ready to retire,” Kenseth stated. “In other ways I do. I don’t know. It’s been a really long, frustrating disappointing season on a lot of levels to be honest with you. It’s the end of the year I’m pretty tired right now with the way everything ended up and the way everything went. I’m just gonna take some time with my family and go from there.”
Kenseth is the 2003 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, and he has 38 career wins in NASCAR’s premier division. If Homestead-Miami Speedway ends up being his final Cup Series race, Kenseth is undoubtedly a future NASCAR Hall of Famer.
Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR