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NASCAR’s Matt Kenseth leaving Roush Fenway team at season’s end

NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth, a former champion who’s also leading this year’s title standings in the Sprint Cup Series, is leaving Roush Fenway Racing after this season, the team announced Tuesday.

No reason was cited but Roush Fenway said Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 24, who captured the championship in NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series last year, would replace Kenseth and join Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle in the team’s Cup series stable.

Kenseth, 40, is in his 13th full season with Roush Fenway and the Wisconsin native won the 2003 Cup title. He opened this season by winning his second Daytona 500, his 22nd career Cup series victory.

“I’m committed to providing the [Kenseth] team the best resources to continue their run for the 2012 championship,” and the team “will always consider him a part of the Roush Fenway family,” team co-owner Jack Roush said in a statement.

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Despite Kenseth’s strong performance this season, Roush Fenway has struggled to secure sponsorship for Kenseth’s No. 17 Ford amid a difficult sponsorship environment overall in stock car racing.

The question now is which team Kenseth will join in 2013. The driver has an 11-point lead in the Cup championship standings over Biffle and a 14-point lead over third-place Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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