Joe Gibbs on signing Kenseth: It's a big deal for Joe Gibbs Racing

JOE GIBBS, team owner, Joe Gibbs Racing

Was part of the appeal in Matt Kenseth his long tenure with one organization? "The reason you stay at one place for a long time is that you're very good and they want to keep you. That's the same way we feel about Denny (Hamlin) and Kyle (Busch) -- we want to keep them forever here and it's a big deal for us. I think that speaks a lot for Matt (Kenseth) and his career. I think he's done great things and to win a championship -- we all know how hard that is. We're thrilled and I am excited to think that we have Denny, Kyle and Matt all sitting in a meeting talking things over -- I would have to think it would be hard for us to miss something with those three guys on the feedback. It's exciting for us, Toyota and everybody here. We're really excited about it."

Joe Gibbs
Joe Gibbs

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

J.D. GIBBS, president, Joe Gibbs Racing

What does it mean to sign Matt Kenseth? "It's a big deal for Joe Gibbs Racing. We learned a long time ago -- unless you have the right guys behind the wheel, you're kind of the wasting your time. We think Matt (Kenseth) really fits that for us and for our future. He does have a real quick wit and it's going to be fun watching him and Jason Ratcliff (crew chief) really gel and spend time together and work on things. We really are excited about that. We look forward to spending time getting to know Matt and his family and look forward to a great future together."

What does Matt Kenseth bring to Joe Gibbs Racing? "I think what it does bring -- we kind of look at it as it doesn't matter what age you are, it doesn't matter your experience, the question is -- 'Are you good? Can you communicate? Can you be a part of a team?' I think Matt (Kenseth) will fit that well for Denny (Hamlin) and for Kyle (Busch) and for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and our future. That's the biggest things we looked at. It's not so much an age thing. It's just what can you bring, what can you add and what's the future look like? We think the future looks really bright with Matt here along with Kyle and Denny."

How did the deal with Matt Kenseth come together? "I think probably some of it we can't get into, but the reality of it was that when you kind of realized there might be a possibility to get Matt (Kenseth), we felt like we'd be foolish not to pursue that and kind of go after that. We had some conversation and said there might be a shot here. It took a while to put all the parts and pieces together, but we're just really excited to have that future out before us at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and that was the biggest thing -- just getting the right foundation for our future. I think that was the biggest part of it."

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Home Depot/Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Are you excited about joining Joe Gibbs Racing beginning in 2013? "I'm really excited to be sitting here today. It's a big honor to come race for Joe Gibbs Racing. I'm really looking forward to working with Denny (Hamlin) and Kyle (Busch) both. They're both at the top of their game, they're both winners and that puts a lot of pressure on you to be able to go run like those guys do. It's a great opportunity. I've been blessed my whole career -- I've been 15 years at RFR (Roush Fenway Racing) and it's been a competitive organization. We've won some races and done some great things there. Really looking forward to this opportunity -- the next chapter of my career and going and trying to win more races and try to win a championship. This is a championship team and I'm really excited to be part of it."

What will be the most difficult part of this transition? "I think the toughest part is this -- Kyle (Busch) says Denny's (Hamlin) going to be the toughest part. I don't know -- I've been at Roush for so long, I was so comfortable there and that would have been the easiest thing to do -- being there 15 years I know almost everybody that works there. You know the place and you're real comfortable, but I think just getting started and getting to know everybody -- getting them to know me. Just kind of getting started with something new is probably the toughest part. I can tell you that I'm really looking forward to it."

Do you know Jason Ratcliff? "I don't know Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) very well. I've talked to him just a few times. I know a lot about him and what he's accomplished in the sport and all the races that he's won and all that stuff. I'm really looking forward to working with him. I'm looking forward to the transition into the things that I know about him. I don't know him that well, but I'm looking forward to that part."

Will you run any Nationwide Series races with Joe Gibbs Racing? "I hope so -- we've briefly discussed that and I'm hoping to run some Nationwide races. I've always enjoyed doing that. The last few years I've only run one race I think the last couple years, mainly just because of sponsorship, so I'm hoping to run some of that."

Are you looking forward to having Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin as teammates? "I've raced against them guys for a long time. I haven't spent a ton of time with Denny (Hamlin), but obviously I know what he can do behind the wheel. I'm really looking forward to working with him and Kyle (Busch) as well. I've spent a lot of time racing short track cars with Kyle. We probably know each other a little bit better -- Kurt (Busch) was a teammate of mine for years over at Roush and a great teammate. I've been fortunate through all my time at Roush Fenway to have really, really good teammates -- not just good teammates to work with, but also really competitive teammates that can win races and win championships. It will be neat to be able to come over here and have good teammates like that as well."

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

What does Matt Kenseth bring to Joe Gibbs Racing? "Matt (Kenseth) brings a vast array of experience obviously, with the time he spent at Roush Fenway -- it's certainly a different company than what JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) is, so he'll have some of that expertise that he can enlighten us with. All in all, Matt's a great racer. He comes from the same sort of short track background that both Denny (Hamlin) and I do with pavement late model racing and all that -- coming up through the ranks into the Nationwide and then into the Cup Series. I've been close to Matt ever since I met him the first time when he and my brother (Kurt) were teammates when I was introduced to him. He's always been a class act and a cool cat to hang around."

Did Joe and J.D. Gibbs talk with you before signing Matt Kenseth? "Joe (Gibbs, team owner) and J.D. (Gibbs, president, Joe Gibbs Racing) have been good about doing that here at Joe Gibbs Racing -- where they communicate with all the drivers and kind of ask the opinion of what we think and how we feel about it. There was that decision and it weighed greatly on me -- it was one of those things where, 'Man, I really like Joey (Logano), but the fact of the matter is that he can help us, but how much more can Matt (Kenseth) help us and become a stronger organization all around?' Having Matt's talents where he's a past champion in the sport, he can win races and be capable of running well every single week, we felt like it was just a possible better opportunity for us."

How do you think Matt Kenseth and Jason Ratcliff will work together? "Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) has a lot of patience and he doesn't get riled up very easily. I feel like they'll have a really, really good relationship. I have a tremendous relationship with Jason -- if I didn't have Dave (Rogers, crew chief), I would probably have Jason. I love the both of them because they are very great at what they do. I get along with both of them just as great. For me, to see Jason have somebody like Matt come on over and to be able to work with somebody with that sort of caliber I think is going to be really good -- like I said, not only for them, but for the whole company."

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How do you feel about Matt Kenseth joining Joe Gibbs Racing? "I'm excited. This is going to be a very talent-heavy organization I feel like. I've got, in my opinion, two of the top-five drivers in NASCAR as teammates, so I think that from that standpoint it's going to be more information for us to use. I think it's going to be fuel for me to push myself to be even better. I know there are tracks that he's head and shoulders better than I am at, so I will be leaning on him for that. I think that really we have a group that there's no reason at any year that all three of us shouldn't be in the Chase."

Do you think you'll work well with Matt Kenseth? "I can't speak for Matt's side of it, but I know my side of it and it's that I'm excited to have him as a teammate, because he's a guy that I look up to. Between him and Bill Elliott, these are two guys that I try to model my driving style after. I think that we've always had a really good mutual respect on the race track. Never that I can I remember, never have gotten into it with each other. I don't even know if we touched each other on the race track at times. He's just a guy that we kind of understand each other. We're kind of soft spoken at times, but we both feel like we get the job done, so it's good to have a teammate that's very similar to you."

Source: Joe Gibbs Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Matt Kenseth , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Roush Fenway Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Press conference
Tags busch, gibbs, hamlin, kenseth, toyota