The 2012 Cup Series champion has put an end date on his racing career, albeit in a vague way. Brad Keselowski explained that he knows when he will walk away from the Cup Series and move into a full-time executive role with Roush Fenway Racing. He will retire when he can’t pursue a NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Keselowski made the comments during a July 20 press conference introducing him as a driver-owner for Roush Fenway Racing. He discussed the future of the race team and how his new partnership will help propel the group to an elite level. Though Keselowski also addressed his own racing future considering that he is 37 years old. He explained that he “wants to win races and win championships” and that he has a “five to 10-year runway” ahead of him.
“As far as what the future holds, Brad and I have talked, and he’s going to drive as long as he’s competitive,” RFR team president Steve Newmark added, per NASCAR. “If you look at where he is, he’s actually in the prime of his career from an age perspective in NASCAR, which is why it was so thrilling for us to have him to be able to come join our team next year.”
Keselowski Has 14 Years of Cup Series Experience
While the 2012 Cup Series champion officially began his full-time career with Team Penske in 2010, he made 17 combined starts at the top level between 2008 and 2009. This list includes a win for James Finch at Talladega Superspeedway on April 26, 2009.
Since moving to full-time Cup racing, Keselowski has made an additional 418 starts and contended for wins on a regular basis. He has 34 trips to Victory Lane, 24th on the all-time wins list (modern era). Keselowski also has 135 top-five finishes and 219 top-10s.
In addition to winning the championship during his third full-time season, Keselowski has captured three of the four Crown Jewel races — the Southern 500, Coca-Cola 600, and the Brickyard 400. The only jewel remaining out of his reach is the Daytona 500. Keselowski made it clear during his media availability that he plans on pushing for the win to kick off the 2022 season.
Keselowski Can Emulate Other Drivers With His Move
While he is 37 years old, Keselowski is nowhere near the end of his career. There are several drivers in their 40s and competing, including Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, and Denny Hamlin. These drivers remain competitive while facing off with younger peers, and three of them reached the playoffs in 2020.
Additionally, Keselowski is following a path set by another team owner. Tony Stewart moved from Joe Gibbs Racing to Haas CNC Racing in 2009, agreeing to a deal for 50% ownership of the team. He finished out his career with the renamed Stewart-Haas Racing, winning 16 more Cup Series races and the third championship of his career (2011) before retiring at the age of 45.
“I think one of the models for me to take on this opportunity was Tony Stewart, and what he did with Stewart-Haas Racing,” Keselowski told media members. “I think he was in a similar position when he joined. In fact, I was looking through the stats on it. He had the same amount of wins and was the same age when he moved over to Gene Haas’ team.
“That was probably more by coincidence than choice, but clearly, that shows that you can be successful with this type of arrangement. There certainly is a precedent there.”
Keselowski does not know if he will achieve the same level of success as Stewart after making the move, but he will strive to make RFR a championship contender. Though he will first pursue another title with Team Penske to cap off the 2021 season.