Brad Keselowski is staying with Team Penske.
The expected move became official on Tuesday, as the team announced Keselowski had signed a “multi-year” contract extension with the team. Crew chief Paul Wolfe had previously signed a contract extension with Penske, and it was hard to see Keselowski leaving the team while Wolfe stayed.
“In the time that Brad has driven for Team Penske, he has risen to the top echelon of stars in NASCAR,” team owner Roger Penske said in a statement. “Brad and Paul have established a terrific, winning combination and they are both real leaders within our team. More than just wins and championships, Brad is an important part of our relationship with Ford Performance and his work with the Checkered Flag Foundation shows what kind of person he is away from the track. There is no question he continues to be a great fit for our organization.”
Keselowski moved to Team Penske before the 2010 season and has scored 22 of his 23 career Cup Series victories with the team as well as the 2012 Cup title. He’s currently sixth in the standings and has wins at Atlanta and Martinsville.
He finished second at Indianapolis on Sunday after Kasey Kahne jumped ahead on the race’s final restart.
“Roger and everyone at Team Penske have given me everything we need to win championships at the highest levels of NASCAR,” Keselowski said. “As I have said all along, Team Penske is where I want to be and I am thrilled to continue with the organization well into the future. I have a lot of years left in the sport and I truly feel our best years are ahead of us.”
The move to secure Keselowski’s long-term future with the organization comes not long after Joey Logano’s contract extension. The team announced at Daytona that Logano and his sponsor Shell had re-upped with the team through the 2023 season.
It also adds some clarity to NASCAR’s 2018 silly season, but let’s be honest: there was no place Keselowski could have gone that was as good as the No. 2 car if he decided to leave the organization.
Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday that Alex Bowman would succeed Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 car in 2018. Keselowski drove for Junior in the Xfinity Series, so his replacing Junior in a return to Hendrick would have been a nice storyline. But that felt like a long shot at best.
The No. 5 at Hendrick Motorsports could also be available too. Kahne has a contract through the 2018 season with Hendrick but both Kahne and team owner Rick Hendrick said the plans for the car next season weren’t concrete. The No. 5 team needs 24 races of sponsorship.
Keselowski moving there felt like a long shot too. He has sponsorship built-in at Penske thanks to Penske’s business-to-business deals and his longstanding Miller Coors relationship. And moving to a car that needs heavy funding didn’t make much sense.
The contract extension also means that if Penske wants to move Ryan Blaney into the organization in 2018 it will be in a third car. Blaney, who is a Team Penske driver, is currently the driver of the No. 21 for the Wood Brothers, who have a technical relationship with Penske.
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