— -- FORT WORTH, Texas -- Matt Kenseth has no plans to drive in 2018, and while the 2003 NASCAR Cup champion wouldn't use the word "retirement," he said it is "probably time to go do something different."
Kenseth, who found out in July that he would be replaced by Erik Jones at Joe Gibbs Racing, has not been able to land a ride at another organization. He is the oldest full-time driver at age 45 and would command a significant salary to continue to race.
"I'm not committing to anything for 2018," Kenseth said Saturday after practice at Texas Motor Speedway. "I'm just going to take some time off, whatever that means. I don't know if that's a year, two years, three months, four months. You never know what happens.
"Maybe something comes along that really makes me excited and feels like it's going to be a fit and you might go do. I'm certainly not going to rule that out. For now, I'm not making plans for 2018. I plan on taking some time off."
Kenseth was eliminated from the NASCAR playoffs after the second round and has been winless this year. He has 38 Cup wins in 647 career starts in what is a likely NASCAR Hall of Fame worthy career.
"It's not a situation I really want to be in," said Kenseth, who is 10th in the NASCAR Cup standings. "In a lot of ways, I don't really feel like I'm ready to retire - or step away, however you want to look at it - and in other ways, I do.
"It's been a really, really long, frustrating, disappointing season on a lot of levels. ... It's the end of the year. I'm pretty tired right now with the way everything ended up and the way everything went. I'm going to take some time for me and my family and go from there."
"The retirement word doesn't really make a lot of sense in this sport because it's not like the NFL where you get a pension where you officially retire," Kenseth said. "It's mostly for people like Junior, they've got to fill the seat and have a sponsor and all that stuff.
"For me, it's just different because I really didn't have that option. My seat got filled before any of that."