Will Brad Keselowski be a next-generation NASCAR Cup owner?

Christmas came early for Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric.

Will Brad Keselowski be a next-generation NASCAR Cup owner?
Race winner Chase Briscoe, Brad Keselowski Racing Ford
Race winner Chase Briscoe, Brad Keselowski Racing Ford
Race winner Austin Cindric, Brad Keselowski Racing Ford
Race winner Austin Cindric, Brad Keselowski Racing Ford
Chase Briscoe, Brad Keselowski Racing Ford and Austin Cindric, Brad Keselowski Racing Ford

While both Ford drivers have been tabbed to drive the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Mustang in 2018, the fellow freshman truckers received a more tangible show of appreciation for their efforts this season. 

Although Brad Keselowski elected to shutter his racing operation following the 2017 Camping World Truck Series season, on Friday he gifted each driver with the F150s from their respective inaugural wins. 

 

Needless to say, Briscoe and Cindric were blown away by the gesture. 

 

Hopefully, Keselowski’s hiatus from team ownership is temporary. Like his mentor Dale Earnhardt Jr., Keselowski provided an opportunity for a number of drivers to hone their skills in NASCAR’s feeder series before moving on to the next level. Ryan Blaney, Daniel Hemric, Tyler Reddick and now Briscoe and Cindric have all come through BKR. 

And with ever-aging ownership in the Monster Energy Cup Series, NASCAR needs to cultivate its next generation of team owners. Just looking at the Championship 4, Barney Visser, who owns Furniture Row Racing, is in his mid-60s. Gene Haas, the principal owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, turned 65 last month. Joe Gibbs turned 77 last week, and Keselowski’s owner, Roger Penske, celebrated his 80th birthday in February. 

Earnhardt has built a solid foundation at JRM and has provided a path for Keselowski and recent Hendrick recruits Chase Elliott and William Byron. Kyle Busch Motorsports has been a conduit for Toyota Racing Development drivers, including Byron, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and, most recently, Christopher Bell. 

Keselowski’s foray into the cultivation of aspiring talent full-time started with Parker Kligerman in 2011. While he was only able to keep the operation afloat for seven seasons, it remains Keselowski’s dream to revive BKR one day and perhaps have the organization blossom into a NASCAR Cup operation.

“Absolutely. It’s 100 percent my dream,” Keselowski told Motorsport.com. “There’s a lot of things that have to happen to make that a possibility—including the support of a manufacturer and the health of the sport being at a high point. But it’s my intention to get to that position in the long-term future.”

Keselowski grew up in a blue collar racing family. The experience provided the third-generation racer with an education that would carry him through the racing ranks and eventually to Team Penske, where he won the Xfinity title in 2010 and the NASCAR Cup championship in 2012. 

Over the last seven seasons, Keselowski, 33, evolved into a dynamic owner. Along with a comprehension of grassroots racing from his family’s team, he absorbed the polish provided from spending the last eight seasons with The Captain.

“I have a little bit of both,” Keselowski said. “I have a mix of the family feel, and a mix of the high-professional feel that Roger brings—which is a good balance. I feel I have a lot of driving days left in front of me. I want to make the most of this incredible opportunity I have at Penske. 

“But when that opportunity runs out, which it will, I’m not infallible and I’m not going to live forever, racing is what I know. It’s what I love. I want to be involved in it some way. It makes the most sense to me for that to be in some kind of ownership capacity where I can make the most of my skill set as a leader of a team.”

Veteran crew chief Buddy Sisco, who led Briscoe to his first-career truck win in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, described Keselowski as the best owner he had ever worked for, simply because his boss was a racer.

“The best thing you can say about Brad is he was raised in a racing family,” Sisco told motorsport.com. “He understands the business from the bottom to the top. He understands sacrifice and the whole deal. When we first started, we didn’t really have a nice place to work, but we managed to win out of it and so he went out and made an investment in a really nice shop for us. 

“He does everything first class. He raises the bar. He made every other truck team better because he made his team better. I’ve worked for a lot of owners over the years. If he called me back in four or five years, I’d be the first guy on the doorstep wanting to go to work for him.”

Keselowski, who finished fourth in the 2017 Monster Energy Cup Series standings, signed a three-year extension this summer to continue racing the No. 2 Team Penske Ford. 

Currently, Keselowski has no intentions of selling the BKR building. It is indeed his hope to return to an ownership role when he hangs up his helmet for the last time.

“It’s going to be up to my generation as not just only as owners or pit crew members or drivers but also fans to take this sport to the next generation as it has been handed to us,” Keselowski said. 

shares
comments
Truex Jr. thrilled to carry on the legacy of The Champion's Journal

Previous article

Truex Jr. thrilled to carry on the legacy of The Champion's Journal

Next article

Roush Fenway's No. 6 team goes back to black in 2018

Roush Fenway's No. 6 team goes back to black in 2018
Load comments
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020