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Matt Kenseth feels a mix of disappointment and relief as he prepares to leave NASCAR

Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on

Published in Auto Racing

And finally Earnhardt, who had been plagued by concussions, announced in April he'd run through the end of this season, with a few exceptions to fill previous commitments. Earnhardt will turn 44 this week.

"When you see a bunch of drivers that are close to your age ... start retiring, you think more about it," Kenseth said. "But on the other hand, when you see those people retiring I probably felt better about job security and getting to drive a top-notch car, especially as long as I was running good, just because a lot of the good drivers and the legends and stuff were leaving.

"Hypothetically that should leave more seats, but it didn't work out that way."

It's not completely accurate to say Kenseth held off saying anything about 2018 until last week because he was in denial. Short of a complete retirement or a new ride, there's no tangible benefit to saying anything one way or another.

Kenseth has felt a certain sense of relief having publicly admitted what he had anticipated for a year and, realistically, had accepted late in the summer.

"You kind of get tired of being at the track and people asking, 'Do you have a ride for next year?' and (about) what you're doing next year," he said. "It's kind of nice to clean that up before the end of the year, and I think it's nice for your fans.

"I've had a lot of friends and family lately come to the racetrack ... trying to come and see the last few races and stuff. So part of it is nice, to get it out there and get rid of the indecision and thinking about it all the time."

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