HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Hurricane Relief Toyota, walks through the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18, 2017 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Matt Kenseth to rejoin Roush Fenway Racing, return to NASCAR Cup Series competition in 2018.” That’s the headline that sat atop Jordan Bianchi’s story for SB Nation late Monday night. Bianchi was the first to report that Kenseth would be returning to Roush Fenway Racing and taking time away from previous full-timer Trevor Bayne, who has yet to win in the series since his 2011 Daytona 500 victory.

Matt Kenseth’s return the right move

After his contract came to an end with Joe Gibbs Racing last season, Matt Kenseth was on the free agent market for the first time since he first left Roush Fenway. Speculation started during the season about where he would be driving in 2018, after young gun Erik Jones took over his No. 20 Toyota.

However, Kenseth announced that he wouldn’t be driving this season, at least not for any of the, “smaller teams.” Although he was contacted by some, he made it clear that he would only drive in top equipment, leaving him without a ride planned for the 2018 season.

While Kenseth was retiring quietly, Bayne continued to drive his No. 6 advocare car for the first nine races of the year. When looking at the stats, its easy to see why Roush made the move.

Bayne has only finished above 20th twice this season, and on top of it has failed to even record a top-10 in the first quarter of the year. To compare, no other driver in top equipment has failed to record a top-10 this year, making it an easy decision for Roush Fenway.

Kenseth Will Return In Kansas

Roush is not yet announcing the exact schedule of races that fans will be able to see Kenseth in the No. 6 car, but his first race will be on May 12 at Kansas. Regardless, it will be fantastic to see Kenseth back in the series, and back with the team that made his name famous.

“It’s a great feeling to return to where it all started for me in the Cup Series,” Kenseth said in a release. “There aren’t many people who have been more influential in my racing career than Jack Roush and Mark Martin. For them to believe in me today means almost as much as it did when they believed in me the first time, 20 years ago. I’m excited to get to the shop, get back to work, and help Roush Fenway return to prominence in the NASCAR Cup Series.”

Below, we took a look at Kenseth’s career path leading up to this.

Kenseth will bring in Wyndham Rewards as his sponsor.

“Having a globally recognized name like Wyndham come on board is big for all of us—not just Roush Fenway, but for the sport as a whole,” Kenseth said. “It says a lot that they chose this team to carry their colors, and I’m going to do my best to make sure we perform for them, both on and off the track.”

The cup series returns to the track, albeit without Kenseth, this weekend at Talladega Super Speedway.

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