Brad Keselowski declined to comment on reports he'll drive in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Penske Racing next year, but he did indicate Thursday to Sporting News he won't be back in JR Motorsports' Nationwide car next season.

Asked whether he expected to return to JRM, Keselowski said, "At this time, no," during a boat tour of the Old Port in Montreal.

Kelly Bires reportedly is the leading candidate to replace Keselowski in the #88 JRM Chevrolet.

"I heard that, too," Keselowski said when asked about the possibility of Bires driving for JRM. "It's hard to tell. I know they've talked to a number of drivers, and I wish them the best on whoever gets in there, and I expect big things from them, as I'm sure the team does.

"I look forward to seeing somebody get the opportunity that I got."

Keselowski's departure from JRM lends credence to reports, which surfaced last week at Bristol, that he'll join Penske Racing. Team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has said if Keselowski were to drive a car make other than Chevrolet in the Cup series, that would preclude him for driving for JRM's Nationwide programme.

Keselowski, 25, has won three Nationwide races for JRM this season and is third in the standings behind Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. He also won the April Cup race at Talladega, driving for James Finch. Keselowski has competed in five Cup races for Hendrick Motorsports, with a best finish of seventh at Darlington.

In response to a question about the possibility of moving from part-time Cup status at Hendrick to a full-time Cup ride somewhere else before the end of the current season, Keselowski was noncommittal.

"Man, that's hard to say at this time," Keselowski said. "I really don't have an answer for that. I wouldn't say yes or no. I would say that time will tell."

by Reid Spencer / Sporting News