Saturday, August 22, 2009

Brad Keselowski Chooses Dodge Over Dominant Team Chevy

With one swipe of the pen, NASCAR’s most sought after up-and-coming free agent was able to once and for all silence the critics. Many thought Brad Keselowski would be driving something, or for that matter anything that had Hendricks’s famous insignia on it next season. Instead, Keselowski opted to not wait around any longer amongst reports that he will continue his NASCAR career with Penske Racing.

All eyes have been on the 25-year-old Michigan native since the beginning of the season, wondering which team would eventually sign him. The most obvious choice looked like HMS, or a team that was somehow affiliated with the most dominant organization in the sport today. Especially since Hendrick had already gotten approval from NASCAR, that would have allowed Keselowski to run a part-time schedule next season.

Keselowski wanted a full-time ride for 2010, and the part-time schedule was not what he was looking for, even though NASCAR was willing to make an exception. Keselowski was not willing to answer any questions about the reports that had already begun surfacing. "Ah, well, you know, I’m really not in a position to talk about any of that stuff right now. That’s probably my biggest response. And I’m really not prepared to address any of the rumors about next year right now.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who owns the Nationwide team that Keselowski drives for, was a little more flexible with his answers, when asked about the reports that he would be losing his star driver. “I ain’t got nothing to really say about it. We will just have to see what happens. I can’t say whether it is true or not."

“I haven’t heard anything for sure. I don’t know any more than any of you guys do.” Earnhardt also went on to say, “I am happy for Brad. He has done a good job for us. We have a lot more racing left this year and some races to win in the JR Motorsports car. We will see what happens next year, whatever it is; it will be good for him.”

Earnhardt commented last week if Keselowski would sign with Dodge, if maybe there was something that they could work out, and Earnhardt was asked if that still holds true? “I don’t think that would be any different for anyone else in the garage for anybody to cross-promote and drive one make and then drive another. It is just common sense.”

As a team owner to have a driver who is as talented as Keselowski and then all of a sudden realizing that he wont be around next season has to be difficult. “When I first got Brad, this was for him to have an opportunity to go to a Cup team was our ultimate victory."

This decision couldn’t have come all that easily for Keselowski, and in typical Earnhardt form, he had nothing but praise for the young driver. “Either way, we will be good friends. He did a great job for us and we have the rest of this year. We want to win some more races, and we will see what happens next year. "No matter was he does in the future, he’s done an awesome job for us and we’ve had a great time so far.”

Now that the last of the sport’s big free agents is already taken, does this mean that all the other rumors that are floating around will be put to rest? Because when you think about it, which driver would best fit in with Stewart Haas Racing if they were to expand to a three-car team?

The best option would be for Stewart to wait until after the 2010 season, when Kevin Harvick will most likely be the most sought after driver once his contract expires with RCR. And what happens to JR Motorsports after Keselowski packs his belongings and heads over to Penske Racing? Could we possibly see another Earnhardt in the seat of the No. 88 after Keselowski departs?

Since Jeffrey is ready to come up to the next level, what better team to have him hone his skills at than one that is owned by his uncle? And of course we all know that Mark Martin’s contract expires after the 2010 season. Without Keselowski, who will fill Martin’s seat once he is gone, especially since HMS has no up and coming driver racing in the Nationwide series? Im Out


  1. in my mind, the best fit for a third SHR car would be Kahne....I doubt very much that people would like seeing Budweiser on a Toyota should Petty switch manufacturers and, while Kasey hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire, I honestly believe that's more down to the car underperforming than the driver.

  2. Well, if Brad has signed with Penske, this certainly will put an end to the rumors of Stewart-Haas hiring him. And Harvick moving to Stewart-Haas in 2011 would be a great fit for both men.

    With KHI on the Truck and Nationwide side, and Stewart-Haas on the Cup side. This would be the perfect way for both organizations to do the extra driving these drivers like to do, and also allow them to train an up and coming star for a future in Cup racing.

  3. I wish Brad nothing but the best as he prepares to drive the 12 car in 2010 and beyond. Simply put, there was no room at the Hendrick Inn, and he wanted a full-time ride.

    Tsfan, I agree that it opens the door for Harvick to move to SHR in 2011 and bringing Shell-Pennzoil and possibly Jack Daniel's with him. Harvick's not reupping with RCR when his contract expires after the end of next season. SHR could well buy out Morgan-McClure Motorsports and put Happy in the #4 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet.