Reports have swirled since May about Brad Keselowski leaving Team Penske and joining Roush Fenway Racing in a driver-owner role. The NASCAR team officially confirmed these reports on Tuesday, July 20, introducing the 2012 Cup Series champion as the newest member of the team.
RFR’s owner Jack Roush, team president Steve Newmark, Fenway Sports Group’s Ed Weiss, and Keselowski met with media members on July 20 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The group formally confirmed that Keselowski will start a partnership with RFR in 2022.
As Newmark explained, there are three pieces to the transaction. The first is that Keselowski will drive the No. 6 Ford Mustang for “years to come.” Second, he will purchase a minority ownership stake with the team. Finally, he will assume a leadership role immediately and will serve on the competition committee. This role will only increase after Keselowski retires.
According to a press release, there are more updates on the horizon for the NASCAR team. RFR will reveal its driver lineup, partner opportunities, and team assets at a later date. The release did not mention the long-rumored name change to RFK (Roush-Fenway-Keselowski) Racing.
Adding Keselowski to the Fold Took Some Time
Newmark continued to explain that bringing Keselowski to the team was not a short process. They worked on this process for multiple months before officially agreeing to a contract. Though Newmark and Keselowski actually had a previous relationship.
The RFR team president told media members that he has met with Keselowski multiple times over the past few years while in the NASCAR garages. These talks weren’t anything official related to future moves. Instead, they just spent time together talking about the sport and its future.
As the relationship grew and Keselowski approached free agency, the discussions began taking place about bringing him to the Roush Fenway Racing stable. Though the respective parties actually started simply by only focusing on having Keselowski as a driver. Newmark explained that they did not actually discuss ownership possibilities until later in the process, choosing to do so to have a “solid succession plan” after Roush walks away from his day-to-day duties.
While there is now a plan in place for Keselowski to take on a larger role, Roush does not plan on retiring anytime in the near future. The longtime team owner told media members that he will continue to attend races and will “be a nuisance” to his drivers and crew chiefs.
Keselowski Made the Move to Remain in Racing
The current driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford Mustang told media members during the July 20 session that he had multiple offers for the 2022 season, including one to return to Penske. However, he said that none of these deals “held a candle” to Roush Fenway Racing due to it providing a path forward after retirement.
Unlike some drivers from NASCAR history, Keselowski has the goal of remaining in the sport after his driving days are over. He said that he wants to be heavily involved for years to come and that his new partnership with RFR will provide an avenue to achieve this goal.
Keselowski noted that this process will not be easy. He expects to face multiple challenges as Roush Fenway Racing tries to take the team to another level and add more wins to the record book. He explained that his goal is to make RFR the “best team in NASCAR” and that he believes it is very possible.
Roush founded the race team in 1988, leading to decades of success. The team has more than 300 wins, as well as back-to-back Cup Series championships. Matt Kenseth won for RFR in 2003 and then Kurt Busch captured the title in 2004.