After the startling announcement by Roush Fenway Racing on Tuesday that former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth was to leave the team after a partnership lasting 14 years and nearly 500 races together, Kenseth insisted that there was no question where he would be in 2013.
"I do have a deal done for 2013 and beyond. I'm good there," he told NASCAR.com
in a telephone interview on Wednesday. "I do have something together, and really looking forward to it as well. I think it's going to be a great opportunity."
But he added that he wasn't able to publicly reveal what that deal was or who with, or even when he might be able to go public.
"I'm looking forward to being able to announce that and talk about that so we can get all the media attention behind us so we can focus on the rest of the season," he said, suggesting that there were still things on the other side of the deal for his new team to sort out before they make it official.
That reticence gives even more credence to the rumours that Kenseth will end up at Joe Gibbs Racing, and that the JGR team are yet to resolve whether that will be as a brand new fourth car operation or as a replacement for Joey Logano, who comes to the end of his current contract this season.
Team owner Joe Gibbs said this week that he wanted his current line-up of Logano, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin to stay with him for a long time if things worked out. "Our goal really is for Joey to be a part of JGR forever," he said.
In the meantime, great opportunity or not, Kenseth has mixed feelings about moving on from the team that has been his home in NASCAR since 1998.
"There are a lot of guys who have been there for a really long time, and all they've ever known is seeing that car with me driving it," said Kenseth. "I feel like I'm really close with those guys. There are a lot of those guys that are friends and are family. And it's always difficult when you have to face that part of it."
But Kenseth wasn't going to be drawn about the specific reasons for his decision to break up such a long-running partnership and move on at this point in his career.