NASCAR: Keselowski won’t discuss Penske rumors
BRISTOL, Tenn. ó Brad Keselowski isn’t saying whether he’ll drive for Penske Racing in 2010.
Keselowski won the pole Friday for the Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He then wanted no part of any discussion about his plans.
“I’m really not prepared to address any of the rumors about next year,” he said. “I’m here to race the Nationwide car and win with it tonight and I am not going to let anything get in the way.”
Keselowski turned down an offer from Roger Penske last year to drive the No. 12 Dodge, and the ride instead went to David Stremme.
Keselowski is again the hottest young prospect, but current team JR Motorsports does not drive in the Sprint Cup Series and co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has no plans to move that team up to NASCAR’s top level. Keselowski had hoped to replace Mark Martin next year in the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports, but Martin decided to keep the seat in 2010.
So Keselowski instead tried to work out a deal to drive for a Hendrick affiliate ó he even had an exclusive negotiating period with team owner Rick Hendrick ó but nothing has materialized that could get him into the Cup Series.
Rick Hendrick on Friday declined to comment on Keselowski’s future, and Earnhardt canceled an afternoon media availability.
Earnhardt would not comment after qualifying on Keselowski’s plans, or who will drive his No. 88 Nationwide car next season if Keselowski leaves.
“I ain’t got nothing to really say about it. We will just have to see what happens,” Earnhardt said. “I haven’t heard anything for sure. I am happy for Brad. He has done a good job for us. We have a lot more racing left this year and some races to win in the JR Motorsports car.
“We will see what happens next year. Whatever it is, it will be good for him.”
Keselowski has three Nationwide wins this season for Earnhardt and five overall. He was also the surprise winner of the Cup race at Talladega, when he used a dramatic last-lap pass to drive a James Finch-owned car to his first career Cup victory.