The idea of the driver-owner in NASCAR is as old as the sport itself. Going back to the legacy of Lee Petty and his son, Richard Petty, many drivers have had financial skin in the game as well. This season, Denny Hamlin joined the list of driver-owners as a co-owner of 23XI Racing and driver of the No. 11 car. The ranks may swell even more, according to a recent report.
The latest driver rumored to have an offer of an ownership stake is Brad Keselowski. The 37-year-old is currently ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series points standings, driving the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske. The 2012 Cup champion has won 35 races at NASCAR’s top level. He’s taken one checkered flag this season, winning the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 25.
Could the lure of ownership get Keselowski to leave Roger Penske behind?
Brad Keselowski rumored to have an offer from Roush Fenway Racing
According to Jim Utter of Motorsport.com, Brad Keselowski and Roush Fenway Racing could team up next season. That offer would include part ownership in a team that rebrands itself RFK (Roush-Fenway-Keselowski) Racing. Keselowski would remain behind the wheel of a Ford but would switch to the No. 6 car, currently driven by Ryan Newman.
It’s uncertain whether Newman would leave the team or RFK Racing would place a third car under its banner. There are also no details on how large a stake Keselowski would have. Keselowski’s long-term deal with Team Penske ran out at the end of last season, and he returned for 2021 on a one-year contract.
If Keselowski is making the jump to Roush, the announcement mostly likely won’t happen until the fall due to terms in the racer’s current contract. But unlike some of the other drivers to take on the dual role as driver-owner, this won’t be entirely new territory for Keselowski.
Keselowski not new to ownership
While Keselowski has never been an owner at the NASCAR Cup Series level, his Brad Keselowski Racing team ran 190 races on the Truck Series. The team posted 11 victories before it ceased operations after the 2017 season. He also owns Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing. The North Carolina-based firm does advanced manufacturing and engineering.
Owning a team at NASCAR’s elite level has always been a goal for Keselowski.
“I’ve never made it a secret that I would eventually like to be an owner at the top level of the sport,” Keselowski said in 2017. “And, while this is many years down the line, I want to start to prepare for that possibility now.”
Other drivers have ownership stakes
Besides Hamlin and Michael Jordan joining forces as team owners this season, driver Daniel Suarez is part-owner of a first-year startup on the Cup Series. Backed by Suarez, rapper Pitbull, and veteran racer Justin Marks, Trackhouse Racing is currently 22nd in the owner standings. Suarez and the No. 99 Chevrolet hold the same position in the driver standings.
23XI Racing is coincidentally enough in 23rd place, with Hamlin and Bubba Wallace driving the two entries. In the No. 11 Toyota, Hamlin leads the NASCAR Cup standings with 574 points, 101 ahead of second-place William Byron. Wallace, driving the No. 23 Toyota, is 21st in the driver standings.
The next race for Brad Keselowski and the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series is Sunday. The EchoPark Texas Grand Prix begins at 2:30 p.m. and airs on Fox Sports 1.
Standings information courtesy of NASCAR.com.