CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – NASCAR points leader Matt Kenseth is leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be promoted to his seat in the Sprint Cup Series.

There was widespread speculation at Sonoma that Kenseth was leaving Roush to join Joe Gibbs Racing, but Kenseth declined before Sunday’s race to discuss his future.  RFR confirmed Tuesday that Kenseth is leaving.

Kenseth has won 22 Cup races, including two Daytona 500s and the 2003 championship, driving for Jack Roush. He’s been in the No. 17 Ford his entire career.

But his car has had sponsorship woes the last few years, and Roush is funding a large portion of this year’s schedule himself for the 40-year-old Kenseth.

The team also desperately needs a slot for the 24-year-old Stenhouse.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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