The NASCAR Cup Series season started with Denny Hamlin taking on an expanded role as a driver and co-owner of a racing team. Now another Cup Series star could follow suit. Roush Fenway Racing has reportedly offered Brad Keselowski a full-time ride that also includes an ownership role, per Motorsport.com’s Jim Utter.
According to Utter’s report from Monday, May 18, Keselowski would have the option to leave Team Penske at the end of 2021 and take over the No. 6 Ford Mustang. He would also have an ownership role in a renamed team, RFK (Roush-Fenway-Keselowski) Racing. Utter’s sources did not provide an exact ownership percentage but said that the 2012 Cup Series champion would “play a large role” on the competition side of the organization if he accepted the offer.
Keselowski previously served as a NASCAR team owner, albeit in a different series. He operated Brad Keselowski Racing in the Truck Series. The organization competed in 190 races between 2007 and 2017, winning 11 in the process. Team Penske’s Joey Logano, Austin Cindric, and Blaney all made starts along with other drivers.
The No. 6 Ford Mustang Currently Has a Full-Time Driver
With Utter’s sources specifically mentioning the No. 6, there are questions about another Roush Fenway Racing driver. Ryan Newman, a 22-year veteran with 702 Cup starts on his resume, currently drives the stock car. However, he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
According to Autoweek, the 43-year-old Newman is one of several drivers that will be potentially looking for a new ride ahead of the 2022 season. Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are all set to become free agents.
If Keselowski agrees to this reported offer from Roush Fenway Racing, he would move to the No. 6 and automatically replace Newman. This change would also open up a spot at Team Penske for one of the many pending free agents. However, Utter’s sources did not reveal whether Newman would move to a third RFR car or simply leave the organization.
Team Owner Roger Penske Previously Provided Contract Updates
Keselowski’s contract status for 2022 became a talking point in March. Team owner Roger Penske openly proclaimed that the goal is to keep Keselowski in the No. 2 Ford Mustang for the future. The veteran driver had nearly tested the free-agent waters in 2020, but he signed a one-year extension amid a COVID-altered season.
“We’re in discussion with all of [the Team Penske drivers],” Penske said in March, per Autoweek. “I think that with COVID, we haven’t been able to get together, but we’ve had conversations with Brad before. I think that we’re moving in the right direction. There’s no reason we wouldn’t renew, for sure.
“I mean, I guess it’s just a matter of us sitting down and putting it together, but with everybody not being able to move around, you don’t do that over the phone and you don’t do it by Zoom, so we want to do that face-to-face with all of them.”
Penske has the goal of keeping his top drivers in the fold for 2022 and beyond, but Roush Fenway’s reported offer could be enough to woo the former Cup Series champion to a new team. However, the sides will not provide an answer in the near future. Utter’s sources listed September as the likely month.
For now, Keselowski will continue pushing for more wins after capturing the Geico 500 on Apr. 25. He is currently in the playoff mix ahead of a trip to Circuit of the Americas on May 23, but continued wins will help him accumulate more playoff points.