On Thursday, July 15, Team Penske announced that Brad Keselowski will part ways with the team at the end of the 2021 season to pursue “other opportunities” within NASCAR. One day later, Roush Fenway Racing seemingly confirmed that he will join the organization in a driver-owner role. The race team set up a “major announcement” featuring unnamed guests.
According to motorsports reporter Dustin Albino, the announcement will take place on Tuesday, July 20, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. RFR’s owner Jack Roush and team president Steve Newmark will speak to the media, as will Fenway Sports Group’s Ed Weiss. Additionally, “others” will be present for the major announcement.
Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal reported in late June that Keselowski’s move to Roush Fenway Racing was a “done deal.” Neither the driver nor RFR confirmed this report but setting up a major announcement one day after Keselowski’s departure from Team Penske seemingly provided the long-awaited answer.
Keselowski Referenced ‘New Opportunities’ in His Goodbye Statement
Following Team Penske’s announcement on July 15, Keselowski released a statement reflecting on his time with the championship organization. He explained that team owner Roger Penske made him a better driver and competitor, resulting in them helping propel the organization from 65 wins to more than 130 and two championships — including Joey Logano’s 2018 championship run.
Keselowski also referenced the new opportunities on the horizon, albeit without providing concrete information about his ultimate destination. He simply said that he would share more details about his next stop in the coming future.
“Making the decision to part ways with Team Penske to embrace a new opportunity and challenge was a difficult one, and one I did not take lightly,” Keselowski said in his statement. “I know that I am leaving in a good place though, and I am both excited and eager to share the details of what’s next for me soon.”
Keselowski Will Reportedly Follow in the Footsteps of Tony Stewart
While Keselowski’s move to RFR is a “done deal,” there aren’t as many details available about the new setup. Motorsport.com’s Jim Utter reported in mid-May that the offer from RFR included an ownership stake in the organization.
According to Utter’s sources, Keselowski would take over the No. 6 Ford Mustang that Ryan Newman currently drives. Additionally, the team would take on a new name, 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.
If Keselowski does indeed become an owner-driver, he will partially follow a path set by Tony Stewart. The NASCAR Hall of Famer spent considerable time (1999-2008) driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, but he agreed to a deal in 2009 with Haas CNC Racing founder Gene Haas that brought him into the fold. Stewart received 50% ownership in the company, setting him up for his post-racing career.
The former driver of the No. 14 continued racing for his team until the end of the 2016 season. Stewart turned the Ford over to Clint Bowyer and moved into a full-time owner role. He has since helped guide the four-car stable to multiple wins and appearances in the playoffs. Now Keselowski could be the next driver to follow this path while continuing to compete for a championship.