I can just imagine what must be going through the mind of team owner Jack Roush right now. “Uh, Matt? Are you really sure we can’t talk you into staying?”
It’s cool to be Matt Kenseth right now. His win at Kansas is his second since it was announced that the 2003 champion will be making the move to Joe Gibbs Racing. Way to stick it to the man, Matty, seeing as how Mr. Roush views being associated with Toyota as going to the dark side.
Truly, the best part of Kenseth’s recent run is that he parts with Roush on a high note. NASCAR’s “Quiet Man” moves on owing his employer nothing. When you know you’re leaving, it’s always a temptation to get “short timers” and mail it in, but as one would expect from the driver of the 17 is he is maintaining his professionalism as his days with Jack Roush wind down.
Another man who has to be smiling about all this is Joe Gibbs. Even if the last handful of 2012 races don’t go well for Matt Kenseth, crew chief Jimmy Fennig and company, he still heads to the JGR garage with wind in his sails. While we were told there were problems securing sponsorships for Kenseth at Roush, he looks like a tailor made fit for his new team. In an organization that sports the tempestuous Kyle Busch, and the sometimes too emotional for his own good Denny Hamlin, Kenseth will offer a nice balance.
We aren’t hearing much from Matt right now, as there’s still four races to go, but the parting will no doubt be an emotional one as the checkered flag drops at Homestead- Miami. If you’re a fan of the driver, you have to appreciate his continued dedication to his team and his commitment to win, even if in ninth place, his chances to leave for a champion are about all but finished.
In the world of sports, there really aren’t enough examples of good role models out there. That’s why with his head held high, it’s refreshing to see a hard-charging competitor still competing as if he’s just received a multi-year contract extension. That’s what professionalism looks like.
Jim McCoy is a radio and television sports reporter and producer in Southern Oregon, where he makes his home with his wife and three children. Jim is also a radio play-by-play announcer for high school football, baseball and basketball. He was recently named Oregon Association of Broadcasters 2012 Sports Announcer of The Year- Non-commercial Division.
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