Crew Penske introduced Thursday that Keselowski could be leaving the group at season’s finish to pursue different alternatives and reigning Xfinity Collection champion Austin Cindric will take over Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford starting with the 2022 Cup season.
Motorsport.com reported in Might that Keselowski had been supplied possession in Roush-Fenway Racing and the group could be renamed Roush-Fenway-Keselowski (RFK) Racing as Keselowski would drive the No. 6 Ford.
Roush has but to formally affirm Keselowski’s new proprietor/drive function.
Penske revealed Thursday that Keselowski’s possession curiosity started along with his present group however discovered there have been no choices obtainable.
“We’d anticipated to get Brad in for an additional two or three years based mostly on the time period that he most likely needed to race. Sadly, and good for him, fairly truthfully, he needed to have possession,” Penske stated. “The way in which we’re structured it simply wasn’t obtainable at Crew Penske.”
Whereas Penske nonetheless tried to signal Keselowski, 37, to a multi-year contract extension final yr when his final contract expired, Keselowski ended up choosing a one-year deal.
“He and I talked about this. Through the years there was dialogue that long run he’d wish to have possession within the group, however the way in which we’re structured at Penske Corp. and the subsidiaries that now we have, it wouldn’t work out and he understood that,” Penske stated.
“I feel we got here to the top of our contract on the finish of final yr. Clearly, he regarded to see what was there, I’m certain. We had been having negotiations, however COVID clearly slowed issues down.
“Principally, the ultimate assembly that we had he stated that he had a chance that might give him possession, and I stated at that time that we wouldn’t have that obtainable.”
Possession a long-time aim for Keselowski
Keselowski has repeatedly over time maintained his curiosity in group possession.
He owned a Truck Collection group that competed in 190 races and received 11 instances earlier than he closed it down following the 2017 season. Keselowski then began Keselowski Superior Manufacturing, a complicated engineering and manufacturing firm based mostly in Statesville, N.C.
“I’ve by no means made it a secret that I might ultimately wish to be an proprietor on the prime stage of the game,” Keselowski stated on the time. “And, whereas that is a few years down the road, I need to begin to put together for that risk now.”
What’s now clear is when Keselowski discovered the trail to group possession unavailable at Penske, he started taking a look at different choices within the collection.
“This wasn’t a shotgun state of affairs. It was properly deliberate, properly managed and we got here to the choice,” Penske stated. “The unlucky factor is if you make these selections it’s early within the season after which issues leak out and there’s dialogue. It doesn’t assist him. It doesn’t assist us.
“It confuses our fanbase, our sponsors and even the media, and I feel that’s one of many causes we made the choice based mostly on the announcement of Brad that we had, after which we may work on how we had been going to construction the group sooner or later.
“I feel we’ve performed it as rapidly as we will and hopefully with transparency for everybody.”
Keselowski will develop into the second high-profile Cup collection driver in two years to maneuver right into a driver/possession function.
This season, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin turned half proprietor of 23XI Racing together with NBA legend Michael Jordan. That group fields the No. 23 Toyota this season within the Cup collection for driver Bubba Wallace.
Requested if he had performed any function within the anticipated partnership between Keselowski and Roush-Fenway Racing, Penske stated, “Actually, within the early phases, I’ll be sincere with you, we by no means even talked about who it is likely to be, so I wasn’t aware about that after which we got here to a degree the place he stated he had a chance that he may transfer on and have possession after which over time who it was got here out.
“You’ve learn a number of the similar issues that most likely I do know, however I had no dialog in any respect with anyone at any time with Roush Fenway or with Ford.”
Brad Keselowski, Crew Penske, Ford Mustang Snap on
Picture by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images
Whereas it’s sure Keselowski will now transfer to a fellow Ford group in 2022, Penske stated there could be no change in how his group treats him the rest of this season (such has excluding him from competitors conferences).
“So far as I’m involved, we’ve obtained races to win,” he stated. “I need to win the championship with him. He’s within the sport. We’d by no means try this. He’s a part of the group.”