Brad Keselowski headed to Roush Fenway Racing in driver-ownership role

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Brad Keselowski headed to Roush Fenway Racing in driver-ownership role
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Roush Fenway Racing Team President Steve Newmark announced Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame that Brad Keselowski will come on board as a driver with a minority ownership stake in the organization, starting in 2022. Keselowski is leaving Team Penske, where he has driven full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2010 and has amassed 34 of his 35 Cup wins and a series championship (2012).

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The Rochester Hills, Michigan, native will stay in the Ford camp. The news comes after a July 15 announcement from Team Penske that moves Austin Cindric into the No. 2 Ford for the 2022 campaign and also confirmed Keselowski‘s departure from the team at the conclusion of this season.

Roush Fenway Racing currently fields the No. 6 Ford for Ryan Newman and the No. 17 Ford for Chris Buescher. Keselowski will take over the No. 6 ride in 2022. Keselowski will also assume a leadership role within the organization on the competition committee. The team will provide additional details on driver lineup, partners and other team assets at a later date.

“I am thrilled to be able to share the news about this next venture with my fans, peers, and the industry,” Keselowski said in a team release. “This presents an opportunity to continue my on-track success with a strong team and a long-term commitment, but also dive into my passion of team ownership where I know I can be an asset to the future of the team. I am optimistic about what Jack (Roush), John (Henry) and I can accomplish together, especially with a new era for our sport on the horizon (with the Next Gen car). Our goal is to win races and compete for championships at NASCAR‘s top level, and we plan to do just that.”

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Jack Roush was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the Class of 2019. The 79-year-old team owner has fielded entries in the Cup Series since 1988 and has compiled 137 victories at that level, including series championships with Matt Kenseth (2003) and Kurt Busch (2004). He has also guided drivers to five Xfinity Series titles and one championship in the Camping World Truck Series. The organization was first known as Roush Racing. Red Sox majority owner John Henry became an investor in the team in 2007, and the name was changed to Roush Fenway Racing.

“I‘m truly excited about this partnership with Brad,” Roush said. “I think it will bring a lot to the organization, from not only Brad‘s ability behind the wheel, but a rejuvenation and fresh perspective across our teams. I‘ve had the opportunity to watch Brad for a number of years, as he has fought and clawed his way up the ladder, molding himself into a champion and one of the top drivers in our sport. I‘ve always admired his resolve and determination. I‘m very pleased that he has chosen to be a part of our organization and I‘m proud to partner with him moving into the future.”

Since 2011, Keselowski has qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs in 10 of 11 seasons. His streak of 11 consecutive seasons with a victory is tied with Kevin Harvick for the second-longest among active drivers. Entering the Olympic break, the 37-year-old sits ninth in the Cup Series points standings with a victory at Talladega — his sixth of his career there — seven top fives and nine top 10s.

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In a statement released on July 15 on Twitter, Keselowski said that “getting to drive for Mr. Roger Penske in the No. 2 has been a tremendous opportunity, and I am proud of the success we‘ve had together. His guidance has helped me both be a better competitor, but even more so, a better man. …

“Making the decision to part ways with Team Penske to embrace a new opportunity and challenge was a difficult one, and one I did not take lightly.”

This will be Keselowski‘s second turn at an ownership role with a team on the NASCAR national series level. From 2008-15, he headed up Brad Keselowski Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Cindric, Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe and Team Penske‘s Ryan Blaney were among the drivers who piloted trucks for Keselowski during those years. His team compiled 11 race wins, including one for Keselowski as an owner-driver in 2014 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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During his availability to discuss elevating Cindric into the No. 2 Ford, Penske revealed that Keselowski had shown an interest in an ownership stake during talks. “He wanted to have ownership and the way we‘re structured, that wasn‘t available,” Penske said.

Denny Hamlin, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing and is a co-owner of 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan, is another Cup Series veteran who is doing the dual role of driver and owner at NASCAR‘s highest level. Other drivers who are either currently holding both roles or have done so in the past across NASCAR’s national series include Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart.

Keselowski got his start in the Cup Series with Rick Hendrick driving two races toward the end of 2008 season. Keselowski then drove part of the 2009 season for Hendrick, James Finch and ultimately Roger Penske. Keselowski got his first Cup win that year for James Finch in April at Talladega Superspeedway.