Matty K to the 42

Greg

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Matt Kenseth is a perfect choice if you are Chip and you still have some hope of getting a rehabilitated Larson back into the 42 car.

Kenseth could keep things going strong for 2020 and 2021, while still providing a providing a good exit strategy for the next move.
 

Bigpaulie1979

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People are talking that Matt has not driven a car since he retired from NASCAR, he was pretty impressive in a pretty strong SLM field at the Slinger Nationals last year
 

LewTheShoe

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Data analytics guru David Smith weighs in on Ganassi's driver announcement. Caution... Smith tends to be blunt. His writing style tends to be less diplomatic than we are used to seeing in some quarters of the Nascar press. Here is a link for subscribers to Smith's article in The Athletic.

Matt Kenseth’s signing wins the news cycle, but brings statistical limitations

-- By David Smith, April 27, 2020, For The Athletic

Matt Kenseth effectively broke NASCAR nearly 17 years ago.

His 2003 title-winning season, the final year in which a champion was crowned as a reward for a full-season effort, was so dominant (he clinched prior to the final race) yet so uninteresting (he won only once) that NASCAR finally pulled the trigger on a new championship format it had been mulling over: The Chase, followed 10 years later by The Playoffs.

That title win forged the reputation that precedes Kenseth, even in Monday’s announcement that a year into his second retirement, he is the chosen replacement for Kyle Larson in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevy for the remainder of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, however long that may be. This year will represent his age-48 season, a period unarguably falling within the average driver’s production decline.

This decision is anathema to statistics and proven driver development patterns, but the appeal behind it is understandable: His is a winning name that could exist as an olive branch to CGR’s current sponsor partners, which at the moment include Credit One Bank, McDonald’s and Chevrolet, all three of which made public statements following Larson’s use of a racial slur two weeks ago. Kenseth had zero contractual ties and was freely available, made clear to a comedic extent via the team’s press release: “I can’t say racing was even on my radar two weeks ago.”

That quote should help inform those paying attention about his mindset, while his most recent statistical efforts can assist in lowering the bar for expectations.


Kenseth’s most recent season was a 15-race slate for Roush Fenway Racing in 2018, in which his 0.783 Production in Equal Equipment Rating fell in a similar output bracket as Austin Dillon (0.736) and Jamie McMurray (0.722) and represented the worst for any season of his 19-year Cup Series career. To wit, that was an above-average rating for his age – he produced at an above-average clip for the entirety of his career, to the surprise of probably no one – but the average 48-year-old driver turns in a rating in the vicinity of 0.500. For a frame of reference, that’s a season slightly worse than what Ty Dillon (0.542) and Paul Menard (0.529) accomplished last season, and if we want to estimate where Kenseth’s effort will fall this year, we probably shouldn’t wander too far past the 0.650 mark – a territory occupied by Austin Dillon in 2019.

Fueling his relatively paltry production in his most recent years was an inability to create his own track position. His minus-0.15 percent surplus passing value yielded a loss of 13 positions beyond the expectation of his car. Including his 2017 season – his final year driving for Joe Gibbs Racing – his pass differential was 83 positions worse than expected over his final two seasons. The drop from Larson – the top-ranked passer in 2018 who also turned in 130-position net gain last season – will be massive...

He takes over a car that presently ranks 15th in the series in Central Speed (Kurt Busch’s No. 1 car ranks 12th). One could argue that’s a little lower than what is real and the result of a small sample size, but it’s at the very least a sign that all wasn’t perfect for CGR at the onset of the season...

The last time (Kenseth generated restart stats) he was below average in that regard as well. In 2017, his 123 positions lost from the non-preferred groove represented the third-largest positional loss in the series, while his 73 percent position retention from the preferred groove was closer to the series-wide average rate...

To his credit, middle-aged Kenseth performed well with good crew chief decision-making in his second go-round with Roush Fenway. He finished sixth at Homestead in his final race, but the majority of the plaudits should’ve gone to fill-in crew chief Travis Peterson, who jumped him from 17th to 16th, from 15th to 14th, and finally, from 9th to 2nd during the event’s three green-flag pit cycles.

The shock of Kenseth’s return should outweigh his production output, and that might actually be the point – after weeks of bad press, CGR sorely needed a win in the news cycle. If this transaction was a multi-year agreement for 2020 and beyond, it’d receive a more shredding criticism, but it’s only for the duration of the season, and given the unique nature of the position in which CGR’s been placed, some slack is given.

The difficult part now falls on the No. 42 team to salvage whatever results they can out of an abject mess, and based on every relevant statistical measure imaginable, it won’t be easy.
 

Charlie Spencer

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he was sponsored by Visine in the Busch Series I believe for a bit right?
I have a co-worker who has that one.

The Martinsvlle thing is a part of the history and obviously real.
Oh, heck yeah, but it's fun to joke about.

Data analytics guru David Smith weighs in on Ganassi's driver announcement. Caution... Smith tends to be blunt. His writing style tends to be less diplomatic than we are used to seeing in some quarters of the Nascar press. Here is a link for subscribers to Smith's article in The Athletic.

Matt Kenseth’s signing wins the news cycle, but brings statistical limitations

-- By David Smith, April 27, 2020, For The Athletic

Matt Kenseth effectively broke NASCAR nearly 17 years ago.

His 2003 title-winning season, the final year in which a champion was crowned as a reward for a full-season effort, was so dominant (he clinched prior to the final race) yet so uninteresting (he won only once) that NASCAR finally pulled the trigger on a new championship format it had been mulling over: The Chase, followed 10 years later by The Playoffs.

That title win forged the reputation that precedes Kenseth, even in Monday’s announcement that a year into his second retirement, he is the chosen replacement for Kyle Larson in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevy for the remainder of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, however long that may be. This year will represent his age-48 season, a period unarguably falling within the average driver’s production decline.

This decision is anathema to statistics and proven driver development patterns, but the appeal behind it is understandable: His is a winning name that could exist as an olive branch to CGR’s current sponsor partners, which at the moment include Credit One Bank, McDonald’s and Chevrolet, all three of which made public statements following Larson’s use of a racial slur two weeks ago. Kenseth had zero contractual ties and was freely available, made clear to a comedic extent via the team’s press release: “I can’t say racing was even on my radar two weeks ago.”

That quote should help inform those paying attention about his mindset, while his most recent statistical efforts can assist in lowering the bar for expectations.


Kenseth’s most recent season was a 15-race slate for Roush Fenway Racing in 2018, in which his 0.783 Production in Equal Equipment Rating fell in a similar output bracket as Austin Dillon (0.736) and Jamie McMurray (0.722) and represented the worst for any season of his 19-year Cup Series career. To wit, that was an above-average rating for his age – he produced at an above-average clip for the entirety of his career, to the surprise of probably no one – but the average 48-year-old driver turns in a rating in the vicinity of 0.500. For a frame of reference, that’s a season slightly worse than what Ty Dillon (0.542) and Paul Menard (0.529) accomplished last season, and if we want to estimate where Kenseth’s effort will fall this year, we probably shouldn’t wander too far past the 0.650 mark – a territory occupied by Austin Dillon in 2019.

Fueling his relatively paltry production in his most recent years was an inability to create his own track position. His minus-0.15 percent surplus passing value yielded a loss of 13 positions beyond the expectation of his car. Including his 2017 season – his final year driving for Joe Gibbs Racing – his pass differential was 83 positions worse than expected over his final two seasons. The drop from Larson – the top-ranked passer in 2018 who also turned in 130-position net gain last season – will be massive...

He takes over a car that presently ranks 15th in the series in Central Speed (Kurt Busch’s No. 1 car ranks 12th). One could argue that’s a little lower than what is real and the result of a small sample size, but it’s at the very least a sign that all wasn’t perfect for CGR at the onset of the season...

The last time (Kenseth generated restart stats) he was below average in that regard as well. In 2017, his 123 positions lost from the non-preferred groove represented the third-largest positional loss in the series, while his 73 percent position retention from the preferred groove was closer to the series-wide average rate...

To his credit, middle-aged Kenseth performed well with good crew chief decision-making in his second go-round with Roush Fenway. He finished sixth at Homestead in his final race, but the majority of the plaudits should’ve gone to fill-in crew chief Travis Peterson, who jumped him from 17th to 16th, from 15th to 14th, and finally, from 9th to 2nd during the event’s three green-flag pit cycles.

The shock of Kenseth’s return should outweigh his production output, and that might actually be the point – after weeks of bad press, CGR sorely needed a win in the news cycle. If this transaction was a multi-year agreement for 2020 and beyond, it’d receive a more shredding criticism, but it’s only for the duration of the season, and given the unique nature of the position in which CGR’s been placed, some slack is given.

The difficult part now falls on the No. 42 team to salvage whatever results they can out of an abject mess, and based on every relevant statistical measure imaginable, it won’t be easy.
Seems about right. He acknowledges the sponsorship issues behind Matt's selection. I notice he doesn't offer any suggestions about who Chip should have put in the car instead.
 

Spotter22

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Data analytics guru David Smith weighs in on Ganassi's driver announcement. Caution... Smith tends to be blunt. His writing style tends to be less diplomatic than we are used to seeing in some quarters of the Nascar press. Here is a link for subscribers to Smith's article in The Athletic.

Matt Kenseth’s signing wins the news cycle, but brings statistical limitations

-- By David Smith, April 27, 2020, For The Athletic

Matt Kenseth effectively broke NASCAR nearly 17 years ago.

His 2003 title-winning season, the final year in which a champion was crowned as a reward for a full-season effort, was so dominant (he clinched prior to the final race) yet so uninteresting (he won only once) that NASCAR finally pulled the trigger on a new championship format it had been mulling over: The Chase, followed 10 years later by The Playoffs.

That title win forged the reputation that precedes Kenseth, even in Monday’s announcement that a year into his second retirement, he is the chosen replacement for Kyle Larson in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevy for the remainder of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, however long that may be. This year will represent his age-48 season, a period unarguably falling within the average driver’s production decline.

This decision is anathema to statistics and proven driver development patterns, but the appeal behind it is understandable: His is a winning name that could exist as an olive branch to CGR’s current sponsor partners, which at the moment include Credit One Bank, McDonald’s and Chevrolet, all three of which made public statements following Larson’s use of a racial slur two weeks ago. Kenseth had zero contractual ties and was freely available, made clear to a comedic extent via the team’s press release: “I can’t say racing was even on my radar two weeks ago.”

That quote should help inform those paying attention about his mindset, while his most recent statistical efforts can assist in lowering the bar for expectations.


Kenseth’s most recent season was a 15-race slate for Roush Fenway Racing in 2018, in which his 0.783 Production in Equal Equipment Rating fell in a similar output bracket as Austin Dillon (0.736) and Jamie McMurray (0.722) and represented the worst for any season of his 19-year Cup Series career. To wit, that was an above-average rating for his age – he produced at an above-average clip for the entirety of his career, to the surprise of probably no one – but the average 48-year-old driver turns in a rating in the vicinity of 0.500. For a frame of reference, that’s a season slightly worse than what Ty Dillon (0.542) and Paul Menard (0.529) accomplished last season, and if we want to estimate where Kenseth’s effort will fall this year, we probably shouldn’t wander too far past the 0.650 mark – a territory occupied by Austin Dillon in 2019.

Fueling his relatively paltry production in his most recent years was an inability to create his own track position. His minus-0.15 percent surplus passing value yielded a loss of 13 positions beyond the expectation of his car. Including his 2017 season – his final year driving for Joe Gibbs Racing – his pass differential was 83 positions worse than expected over his final two seasons. The drop from Larson – the top-ranked passer in 2018 who also turned in 130-position net gain last season – will be massive...

He takes over a car that presently ranks 15th in the series in Central Speed (Kurt Busch’s No. 1 car ranks 12th). One could argue that’s a little lower than what is real and the result of a small sample size, but it’s at the very least a sign that all wasn’t perfect for CGR at the onset of the season...

The last time (Kenseth generated restart stats) he was below average in that regard as well. In 2017, his 123 positions lost from the non-preferred groove represented the third-largest positional loss in the series, while his 73 percent position retention from the preferred groove was closer to the series-wide average rate...

To his credit, middle-aged Kenseth performed well with good crew chief decision-making in his second go-round with Roush Fenway. He finished sixth at Homestead in his final race, but the majority of the plaudits should’ve gone to fill-in crew chief Travis Peterson, who jumped him from 17th to 16th, from 15th to 14th, and finally, from 9th to 2nd during the event’s three green-flag pit cycles.
Joey Logano fan.
 

Biggreen695

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I bet Kenseth invested in an iracing set up in the last couple days.

Regardless of what happens ganassi has Chastains back and isnt going to let him flounder.

I'm excited to have Kenseth back.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

LewTheShoe

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Seems about right. He acknowledges the sponsorship issues behind Matt's selection. I notice he doesn't offer any suggestions about who Chip should have put in the car instead.
Actually, Smith mentioned five names that Ganassi should be considering... in an article dated April 16:

Ross Chastain
Bubba Wallace
Daniel Suarez
John Hunter Nemechek
Corey LaJoie

Smith offered the opinion that any of these likely could be extracted from their existing contract obligations if Ganassi wanted to sign them for a major ride like the 42. He knows what he's talking about, having worked for years with a firm that represents numerous drivers as agents.

Also, we don't know what Ganassi is paying Kenseth, but it's probably considerably more than he'd have to pay any of these five young drivers. That "salary delta" amounts to deal making capital available to grease the wheels of negotiation.

Bottom line... I believe Chip was just looking for a low-risk way to kick the can down the road until the end of the year. I'm sorta disappointed at that, but it's his money on the line, so he gets a vote and I don't..:idunno:
 

gnomesayin

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Bubba Wallace
Daniel Suarez
John Hunter Nemechek
Corey LaJoie
I can't honestly say that any of these choices seem particularly astute to me at the present time, as much as I may like a couple of them personally. I suspect that Chastain can benefit from more seasoning in the Xfinity ranks, and this may or may not be why Ganassi passed him over for now. If that's the case, I think a veteran seatholder make sense. I agree with the sentiment that Kenseth is a safe choice who is unlikely to excel or tank at this point in his career, but I do think he would outperform the above four for the races run in 2020.
 

StandOnIt

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Chastain has driven in every race in the trucks, Xfinity and Cup this year. Every race Nascar had. Unless I am missing something, I don't get why he couldn't be behind the wheel of the 42, it isn't because his current Xfinity team owner Kaulig won't let him, or that Ganassi has a problem with it because he has raced in every series, every race.
 

Charlie Spencer

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But NOT better than "NO NECK" has been for the team.
His last 5 or 6 races in 2018 were just as good as Newman ran last year. Took him a few weeks to get up to speed but when he did he elevated that team 10+ spots.
It's hard to say how much Newman benefited from Matt being in the #6 for half a season. We can't tell how much his feedback helped the team or made the car better for Newman's arrival. I'm willing to say the car was better for Newman after Kenseth than it would have been if Bayne had finished the season.
 

FLRacingFan

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I don’t really take issue with the waiver, but given that it appears they’ll approve them for almost any circumstance (Larson could make this interesting if he comes back later in the season) is there really a reason for the “run every race” charade? Is there actually concern guys could win and then take a few weekends off to go hang out at Lake Norman?
 

Nitro Dude

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I don’t really take issue with the waiver, but given that it appears they’ll approve them for almost any circumstance (Larson could make this interesting if he comes back later in the season) is there really a reason for the “run every race” charade? Is there actually concern guys could win and then take a few weekends off to go hang out at Lake Norman?:beerbang::cool:
 

Charlie Spencer

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I don’t really take issue with the waiver, but given that it appears they’ll approve them for almost any circumstance (Larson could make this interesting if he comes back later in the season) is there really a reason for the “run every race” charade? Is there actually concern guys could win and then take a few weekends off to go hang out at Lake Norman?
I'm pretty sure the sponsor obligations will require them to show up and run every week. That will override any possible days off the NASCAR rules might allow.
 

Turtle84

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Also, for Matty K I always got the feeling that he was nudged out of the 20 before he was ready to leave, the 42 puts him back into contending equipment. He may have a renewed sense of optimism about racing after his extended break. Sometimes that works wonders for athletes that leave and come back, after they realize how much they missed it, the appreciation level goes way up.
 
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