Matty K to the 42

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.

I agree completely, plus the fact that these guys are Type A people with one thing on their mind, out perform and beat the other 39 drivers. They also just plain out love to race.
If they miss a race, it was caused by an event that just short of killed them or they did something stupid that was deemed detrimental to the sport.
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.

OMG....laughing all the way to the bank on this one...based on David Smith's analogy, David Pearson was NASCAR's worst driver...only passed one car a the end of it while crossing under the checkered.
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