Kenseth could drive Earnhardt's #88 vehicle in 2018

Matt Kenseth said Friday that he has no ride for next year

"It hasn't been a good year at all; not almost up to my standards or my team's standards". "Actually, Denny Hamlin and I, we coerced on figuring out how to get Matt over to our team (from Roush Fenway Racing) back when we were looking for that guy and we've been grateful to have him over the last four, five years".

"I'm not really anxious about it but as of (Friday), I do not have a job for next year". "As of today (Friday at Kentucky Speedway), I do not have a job for next year". "I haven't been told 100 percent, but some people in Silly Season are pretty smart and they can kind of see how it's all going to fall and they can figure out how it's going to line up, so don't be too shocked, that's all I've got to say".

As to Kenseth's future, his name has been mentioned as a possible short-term solution for the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. retiring from full-time racing at the end of the season.

"I'm just driving", Jones said Thursday at Kentucky Speedway.

It seems likely Gibbs plans to replace Kenseth in its No. 20 Toyota with Erik Jones, who is in the middle of his rookie Cup season with the JGR-affiliated Furniture Row Racing. I certainly hope to still be racing. "He is a talented guy who is just a couple of races removed from being a victor and could show up any week and get to victory lane".

"I'm not really anxious about it", Kenseth said.

"I was not feeling too good physically and, yeah, I've thought about that quite a bit just how big a difference it is from today compared to a year ago", he said. Jones figures he has learned twice as much in half a Cup season than he did in two years in the Xfinity Series.

The landscape of JGR has changed over the past two years.

However, Kenseth remains mom about his plans for 2018, as does his team. His 2003 championship was the last under the old full-schedule format before NASCAR concocted the Chase and the playoffs and stage racing and all manner of confusing points systems. The '13 season was a spectacular year (seven victories and second in final points). "Then we switched to qualifying trim, and we were really fast".

Kenseth is 11th in points with six top-10 finishes in 17 starts.

"I don't know all the specifics and I don't know exactly what's going on", said Busch.

If Kenseth wants to keep racing - but why would he, especially with so much life yet to live? - he'll have no trouble finding a ride. "We're getting closer; we've just got to get things to go our way a little bit".

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