With the onslaught of young talent pouring into NASCAR, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth now is the sport’s elder statesmen. But he isn’t ready to hang up his helmet quite yet.
The 45-year-old told reporters at a team press conference Thursday he doesn’t think his age is holding him back in his pursuit for his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, according to NASCAR. Kenseth, the oldest active Cup driver, supposedly looks to other veteran athletes’ success in recent years as proof of what he can still accomplish.
One person who particularly serves as inspiration for the driver of the No. 20 is five-time Super Bowl champion, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
“If Tom Brady can play football at 40 and still win Super Bowls, I think 45 is pretty young to try and win races,” Kenseth said, via NASCAR.
The purpose of JGR’s presser was to reveal Kenseth’s new Circle K sponsorship. Many suspected, however, the racer would announce his retirement Thursday, as the team announced the event a week in advance.
Kenseth reportedly was bombarded with texts and phone calls after JGR sent out its announcement, though he didn’t realize why at the time. Once he learned many in the sport thought he was notifying people of his exit, he was a bit surprised.
“As long as you guys have known me, if I was going to do something like that I wouldn’t call a press conference,” Kenseth said, according to NASCAR. “I probably just wouldn’t show up at Daytona and everybody would say, ‘Is Matt racing this year?’ Or send out like a four-word tweet.”
Currently, Kenseth sits 22nd in the Cup standings with three top-10 finishes and one top five through the first seven races.
Thumbnail photo via John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports