Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway he could neither confirm nor deny a report in the Charlotte Observer that Brad Keselowski had agreed in principle to drive a Dodge for Penske Racing in the Sprint Cup Series next year.
“I can't say whether it's true or not,” Earnhardt said. “I haven't heard anything. But I'm happy for Brad. He's done a good job for us. We've got a lot more racing left this year and races to win in the JR Motorsports car. We'll see what happens next year. Whatever it is, it'll be good - for him.”
Keselowski has won three races this year in the Nationwide Series #88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, jointly owned by Earnhardt and Rick Hendrick. A move to a different manufacturer, however, would preclude Keselowski from driving for JRM next season.
“I don't think that would be any different for anyone else in the garage,” Earnhardt said after his qualifying lap for Saturday's Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup Series race. “Nobody can cross-promote and drive one make and then drive another.”
Asked whether he would be disappointed if Keselowski left, Earnhardt said: “You have the wrong approach. When I first got Brad for him to have an opportunity to go to a Cup team is our ultimate victory. When that happens, which it certainly will one day, I'll be as proud as I've ever been, as I was when he won races for us.”
Keselowski, who turned down an offer from Penske last year, also declined to confirm the report, as did representatives of Penske Racing.
“I'm not here to address any of the rumours about next year,” Keselowski said before Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Bristol. “We'll figure out where I'm going to go. As I said, I needed another month or so, and my timeline has not changed.
“I've been to a lot of places (different race teams)—more than you guys have been able to report.”
by Reid Spencer