CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Matt Kenseth is returning to NASCAR and coming back to his racing home.
Roush Fenway Racing announced Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame that the 46-year-old Kenseth will drive the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing in select races. His first race with the team will be Kansas on May 12.
“It feels like the right deal at the right time,’’ Kenseth said. “I think it’s an interesting challenge for me not just being a driver. I hope I can be much more to the organization. I hope there is a lot of different ways I can help in.’’
Said car owner Jack Roush: “We feel he has come home to us.’’
Kenseth will share the No. 6 ride with Trevor Bayne, who is running this weekend at Talladega.
“Our goal is to have Trevor continue to grow and mature on the track,’’ said Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing. “He will continue to be in the car.’’
Newmark said details are being worked out on what races Bayne and Kenseth will drive. Bayne has close ties to sponsor AdvoCare, which is on the car at Talladega. Kenseth will drive in the All-Star Race, Newmark confirmed.
Newmark said that when he told Bayne of the decision, Bayne said he wanted to remain in the car every week.
“He’s a fierce competitor,“ Newmark said of Bayne’s reaction to being taken out of the car for some races.
Roush said he hopes Kenseth can help the organization improve its performance.
“It’s a chance to look at our cars and see if there is something glaring that Matt sees with his experience,’’ Roush said.
Bayne is 26th in the points. The 2011 Daytona 500 winner has not finished better than 12th (Texas) this season. Every driver ahead of him in the points has had at least one top-10 finish this season. He has not finished in the top 10 in his last 12 starts, dating back to last season.
Kenseth said he had not talked to Bayne but hopes to do so in a few days and work together. Kenseth said he spoke to Stenhouse before the announcement.
Kenseth, the 2003 Cup champion, has 39 career Cup wins, putting him 20th on the all-time wins list.
Car owner Jack Roush said that Kenseth will be a good mentor for the team’s young drivers, along with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne.
He won the 2000 Cup Rookie of the Year award driving for Roush Fenway Racing and remained with the organization through the 2012 season. Kenseth won 24 races — including the 2009 and 2012 Daytona 500 — with the team before leaving to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing from 2013-17.
Roush Fenway Racing also announced that Wyndham Rewards/Wyndham Hotels will sponsor the No. 6 car in select races.