Keselowski negotiating with Hendrick Motorsports
Fri, 01 May 2009 17:40:26 GMT —
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) " Brad Keselowski wants to race full-time next season in the Sprint Cup Series, he's just not sure where he'll find the seat.
His first choice, he said Friday, is Hendrick Motorsports. NASCAR's newest Cup winner is exclusively negotiating with Hendrick on a long-term contract. He currently races full-time in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, and has a developmental deal with Hendrick that runs through the end of the year.
"The key part of it is to stick with what got you where you're at," Keselowski said at Richmond International Raceway. "Having competitive cars and support from Hendrick Motorsports is what got me to Victory Lane at Talladega.
"It's hard to run from that, but at the same time there isn't a clear opportunity. So we have to see how that works out."
Keselowski was earmarked as Mark Martin's eventual replacement at Hendrick. But Martin has indicated he's considering running a full season in 2010, which would delay Keselowski's promotion to the Cup series.
His stock skyrocketed last week, though, when he pulled out a surprise victory at Talladega. If Hendrick can't find the right Cup opportunity for Keselowski, it just might lose the budding 25-year-old.
Keselowski said there are several scenarios that could keep him aligned with Hendrick, including rides with teams that receive Hendrick support.
"I wouldn't write anything off," he said.
Keselowski's win at Talladega came in his third Cup start of the season, and fifth overall. His previous best finish was 19th in last season's finale in Homestead, Fla.
Under NASCAR rules, Hendrick is permitted to field a fifth Cup entry in seven races this season as a way to help Keselowski gain experience at the top level. He picked up an additional eight to 10 races with car owner James Finch, and drove Finch's car to the dramatic win at Talladega.
Keselowski pushed Carl Edwards into the lead on the final lap of Sunday's race, then made a run at Edwards for the win. Contact between the two cars started an accident that sent Edwards airborne into the frontstretch safety fence, and Keselowski rolled to the win.
The victory qualified Keselowski for the All-Star race later this month. His next Cup race is May 9 at Darlington in a Hendrick car.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who owns the No. 88 car that Keselowski drives full-time in the Nationwide Series, said he'd like to have Keselowski back next season. Keselowski won two races for Earnhardt last season and finished third in the points.
Through eight Nationwide races this year, Keselowski has four top-10s and is sixth in the standings.
"Whatever Rick wants to do with Brad, it's up to him on the Cup side," Earnhardt said. "I'm in the business of trying to help guys win races in the Nationwide Series and trying to help them become better race car drivers. I feel like we've really achieved that goal with Brad, and he's sort of done what we set out to do with our program.
"It's really up to him if he wants to keep driving the car. I don't really know what our plans are for finding him opportunities past the level of the Nationwide Series."Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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