There are several rumors swirling about Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski ahead of free agency, primarily focusing on a potential move to Roush Fenway Racing. Now team owner Roger Penske has responded and avoided providing any definitive statements about the future of the three-car stable.
Penske fielded questions from reporters prior to the Detroit Grand Prix, covering topics involving his IndyCar and NASCAR teams. According to the AP Sports’ Jenna Fryer, Penske responded to questions about Keselowski by saying, “We have a contract with, the rest of the season. Anything he’s going to do or we’re going to do, we’ll make announcements properly at the right time.”
Keselowski is currently driving on a one-year extension that he signed during the COVID-altered 2020 season. He will become a free agent at the end of the season and will potentially have multiple suitors, especially if he makes more trips to Victory Lane. He has one victory so far — the Geico 500 on Apr. 25 — and 473 points. Keselowski is 10th in the points standings, well above the playoff cutoff line.
Previous Reports Hinted at a Move to Roush Fenway Racing
Motorsport.com’s Jim Utter stunned racing fans in mid-May, revealing that Keselowski was weighing a potential move to Roush Fenway Racing. The long-running NASCAR team had reportedly offered the driver of the No. 2 Ford Mustang a role as a driver/owner.
According to the report, the move would consist of Keselowski taking over the No. 6 Ford Mustang. He would have an ownership role in a renamed team, RFK (Roush-Fenway-Keselowski) Racing. Utter’s sources did not provide an exact ownership percentage. However, they said that the former Cup Series champion would “play a larger role” on the competition side.
Veteran driver Ryan Newman currently controls the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang, but he will also be a free agent at the end of the year. He could retire or examine a possible seat at another team. Utter’s sources said that RFR could potentially create a third seat on the team.
Newman, for his part, made strong comments recently to Motorsport.com. He explained that he is not yet ready to walk away and that he still has some goals to achieve. He wants to capture the Crown Jewel wins in the Southern 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. He also wants to win a Cup Series championship.
“That’s always been my ultimate goal from the time I was in elementary school,” Newman told Motorsport.com. “That’s on my radar still and will always be on my radar, whether I achieve it or not because that’s just the nature of the beast when it comes to the competitiveness of what we do. I don’t know what all the steps will be, but, ultimately, that’s where my mind and heart will always want to be.”
Penske Also Addressed the Futures of Other Drivers
Keselowski is not the only member of Team Penske that the team owner discussed during the media availability. Although he kept his cards close to the chest while looking ahead to the 2022 season. According to Fryer, Penske specifically said “I don’t know” in response to questions about Austin Cindric replacing Matt DiBenedetto in the No. 21 Wood Brother Racing Ford Mustang.
The defending Xfinity Series champion is finishing out the 2021 season in the No. 22 for Team Penske, but he is set to move to Cup in 2022 and replace DiBenedetto. This move would make the current driver of the No. 21 a free agent. However, the team owner’s comments on Friday indicated that the driver swap is not yet official.
“For me to discuss drivers, what is it, June or July? The season isn’t even over yet,” Penske said about Cindric and DiBenedetto, per Fryer. “We haven’t made any permanent decisions on drivers, there’s a lot of moving parts.”