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“"I've got a tremendous amount of respect for him, and I think in the long run, everyone is going to be fine." Roush moved quickly to fill Kenseth's seat, promoting Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to the Cup level. Kenseth won't say where he's headed, just that he believes it will be a good fit and was the first offer he'd ever seriously considered. J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, declined Wednesday during an appearance in Kentucky to discuss any potential deal with Kenseth. But JGR driver Denny Hamlin was on board, and said his driving style probably matched Kenseth more than anyone else in NASCAR. "He just brings so many assets to a race team," Hamlin said. "He's going to be a valuable asset wherever he goes and anybody would be lucky to have him." The 40-year-old Kenseth would automatically become the senior driver at Gibbs, which fields cars for Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Hamlin has been the de facto veteran since Tony Stewart left after the 2008 season, and Logano stepped into the No. 20 Toyota. It's not clear if Kenseth is headed to the No. 20 car to replace Logano, or if a fourth team is being created for one of the drivers. Hamlin said he's done no recruiting. "My talks with Matt have been pretty brief," Hamlin said. "You always want someone like that on your team, but drivers aren't going to convince a guy where it's best for them, or where they feel they can win races. So my role is limited. But you know someone like that has the potential to bring a whole lot of talent to your race team." Kenseth, like Roush officials a day before, did not reveal many details about the decision to leave the team. He said it wasn't about money -- and joked if it had been, he would have negotiated publicly for the first time in his career for leverage -- and said despite up-and-down moments with teammate Carl Edwards, the two presently get along fine and there's no animosity over the deal Edwards got last year to stay at Roush. "People won't totally understand it, and I get that, but there isn't one reason, or an argument that is easy to figure out for me or for Jack," Kenseth said. "There were a number of things that got us here, and at the end of the day I am excited about what I've got for 2013 and I think Roush is excited about promoting Ricky. "I'd never been in this situation before and that has been stressful for me. I've just never been in a contract year before, especially this deep into the year. So I'm just excited to be done with this and to move on with the rest of our season."
I don't think either one of us expected it, I think both of us expected I would retire driving for him and driving the 17 car. It was difficult, one of the top-10 hardest conversations I've ever had, and it made for an uncomfortable last weekend for both of us.” -- Matt Kenseth on telling
Jack Roush of his departure