UPDATE 11:00am CDT
Let's Talk NASCAR, which airs in southern Wisconsin on Sundays, confirmed on Sunday that the press conference was to be about a new sponsorship deal for Matt Kenseth's ride. Listen to this clip from Sunday's show, in which the hosts explain that Kenseth told them directly that the announcement Wednesday was to be about a new car sponsor:
On Thursday, April 13, a press release went out to NASCAR media announcing a joint press conference with Joe Gibbs (of Joe Gibbs Racing) and Matt Kenseth, set at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, would be held at 1 p.m. Central time on April 19.
No cause for alarm, right?
Except that someone read far between the lines and speculated that, given Kenseth's age, relative lack of success in the 2017 season (22nd in the points standings), and other factors, that this could be a retirement announcement.
Using an internet site that creates hoax pages to be shared on social media, a post made the rounds early this week (UPDATE: it has been pulled from the site, so it redirects to a 404/not found page) claiming that the announcement at the Hall of Fame was indeed a retirement announcement for Matt Kenseth. While the source was obviously a fake, it did get some fans wondering if this really was the end for the Cambridge, Wisconsin native.
If Matt Kenseth is announcing his retirement on Wednesday, it's news to his team, which issued the following comment to The Big 1070 in Madison when asked about the rumor:
"It's not retirement related but it does involve news for this season." - Joe Gibbs Racing
Speculation now will center on whether it's part of the NASCAR Hall of Fame voting for 2018 (Joe Gibbs, of Joe Gibbs Racing, is up for election in a fan vote, and the class will be announced next month at the All Star Race in Charlotte), or something else, like a sponsorship update, but it's confirmed that Matt Kenseth is not announcing his retirement.
Photo: Getty Images