Friday, August 21, 2009
Sources: Keselowski switching teams
By David Newton
Brad Keselowski will drive for Penske Racing in 2010, sources told ESPN.com on Friday.
Keselowski won the pole Friday for the Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. But afterward, he would not discuss his future plans.
"I'm really am not in a position to talk about any of that stuff right now," he said. "I'm really not prepared to address any of the rumors about next year. I'm here to race the Nationwide car and win with it tonight and I am not going to let anything get in the way or distract us from that end."
Keselowski turned down an offer from Roger Penske last year to drive the No. 12 Dodge, and the ride instead went to David Stremme.
Jonathan Gibson, the vice president of marketing for Penske Racing, would neither confirm or deny the report.
"All I can tell you is it's no secret we talked to Brad," Gibson said. "Roger has a history of hiring great drivers. Brad is a great driver."
Stremme, who is 31st in points, declined to comment.
"You're talking to the wrong guy," he said.
Keselowski has three Nationwide wins this season for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and five overall. He was also the surprise winner of the Cup race at Talladega, when he used a dramatic last-lap pass to drive a James Finch-owned car to his first career Cup victory.
Keselowski said earlier this year after winning at Talladega in a Phoenix Racing car supported by Hendrick Motorsports that he hoped to drive full-time in 2010 for an organization associated with HMS.
HMS's only vacancy was eliminated when Mark Martin opted to postpone his retirement at least one more season. Sources said Stewart-Haas Racing had no interest in Keselowski and Earnhardt said JR Motorsports, for which Keselowski drives in the Nationwide Series, likely would not move up to Cup.
Keselowski said last weekend in Michigan he wanted to drive for JR Motorsports for a long time and there were options that would allow him to do it. He also said there was no way he could drive a Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in Nationwide and another manufacturer in Cup.
Earnhardt said before Friday's Cup qualifying he had not heard of Keselowski's decision to go to Penske.
There was a report earlier in the week that Keselowski met with Penske on Monday at the team's shop in Mooresville, N.C. Gibson said he was not aware of such a visit.
Said Keselowski, "I've been to a lot of places, more than you guys have been able to report."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.