The deal to make Brad Keselowski a driver and co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season was actually done quite a while ago.
On Tuesday, the worst kept secret about the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season was finally confirmed when Roush Fenway Racing announced that current Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski is set become not only a driver but a co-owner for the organization starting next year.
After 12 seasons of competing full-time for Team Penske as a full-time driver, Keselowski is set to replace Ryan Newman behind the wheel of the #6 Ford in 2022, alongside Chris Buescher behind the wheel of the #17 Ford.
This move was considered the worst kept secret in the sport for a few months before it was finally confirmed. It was rumored that the 2012 series champion had been offered this role back in May, and multiple sources reported that it was a likely move. Later on, those same sources called it a “done deal”.
It still took nearly a month to confirm, but it was finally confirmed.
One of the key reasons why it took so long to announce this deal was Roush Fenway Racing’s respect for Team Penske’s driver lineup decision for 2022.
So after Roger Penske’s team confirmed that Austin Cindric is set to be promoted from the Xfinity Series to the Cup Series to pilot the #2 Ford that Keselowski currently drives, Roush Fenway Racing made the Keselowski move official. But for how long had this deal between Roush Fenway Racing and the 37-year-old Rochester Hills, Michigan actually been done?
It was done even months before the rumor first emerged in mid-May, according to team president Steve Newmark. He indicated that this deal was done all the way back in March.
So while this was indeed considered the “worst kept secret” regarding the 2022 driver lineup, it was actually kept under wraps quite well by all parties involved in the matter.
Even since March, both Roger Penske and Keselowski had made comments about renewing Keselowski’s contract for 2022. But it wasn’t meant to be.
While it came as somewhat a surprise to Penske that Keselowski wanted out from the only organization for which he had ever driven full-time in the Cup Series, he was unable to provide him with an ownership stake in the team, which was a deal breaker for Keselowski.
The owner of the former Brad Keselowski Racing Truck Series team (2008-2017) had never been shy about wanting to start on a path toward team ownership in the Cup Series, and now he has that opportunity.