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Joe Gibbs signs NASCAR's Matt Kenseth for 2013

September 04, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • Matt Kenseth will leave Roush Fenway Racing and join Joe Gibbs Racing next year.
Matt Kenseth will leave Roush Fenway Racing and join Joe Gibbs Racing next… (Rainier Ehrhardt / Associated…)

Joe Gibbs Racing, as expected, announced Tuesday that former champion Matt Kenseth will join its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team next year.

Kenseth, who already had said he was leaving Roush Fenway Racing after this season, will take over the No. 20 Toyota currently driven by Joey Logano. Gibbs' other drivers are Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

Logano, in turn, is widely considered a leading candidate to move to Penske Racing next season to drive the No. 22 car formerly driven by A.J. Allmendinger, who failed a drug test and was released by Penske on Aug. 1.

[Updated at 1:41 p.m.: Penske Racing confirmed Tuesday that Logano will drive its No. 22 Ford next season. Logano, 22, will join Penske’s other Cup driver Brad Keselowski on the team.]

Kenseth, 40, won the Cup championship in 2003 and is third in the point standings this year as he tries to win a second title with Roush Fenway.

"I remain totally committed to this season and working with my current team toward a championship, and having this [contract] settled will only help my focus," Kenseth said in a statement.

In other NASCAR developments, Office Depot said it would no longer be a primary sponsor of Tony Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet after this season. Stewart is the reigning Cup champion.

"Given the current business landscape, we are not able to invest the resources required," Office Depot spokeswoman Mindy Kramer said in a statement.

But she added that the retailer remained in talks with Stewart's team, Stewart Haas Racing, about "potential opportunities" to remain "involved with Tony and the team at some level." Office Depot currently shares the primary sponsorship of Stewart's car with Mobil 1 motor oil.

Although teams don't disclose the amount of their sponsorship funding, it can cost $15 million to $20 million to operate a top-flight Cup car through the 36-race season.

Meanwhile, the Lowe's home-improvement chain -- one of Jimmie Johnson's primary sponsors -- said it would donate $133,966 to support the American Red Cross' relief effort in response to Hurricane Isaac.

That matches the sum Johnson earned with his 34th-place finish in Sunday's Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team donated an additional $48,000 (Johnson's number is 48) to the Red Cross.

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