Brad Keselowski working toward sustainable future with BKR shutdown

Rusty Jarrett/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

BRISTOL, Tenn. — It took more than money for Brad Keselowski to consider closing Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR), but the 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion admitted the organization might not be shuttering operations if it had been more profitable.

“I don’t know.  Probably not,” Keselowski said when asked if he would have closed the team if it were making money. “There were a lot of decisions that went into it.  There wasn’t really one reason, but certainly at some point every business needs to have some profitability, but I never went into it expecting to make money, so I can’t really blame that.”

Asked if anything could have changed his mind, Keselowski confirmed only a stroke of financial luck could have kept his Truck Series ambitions afloat.

“I could have won the lottery,” he joked. “There are a lot of factors.  Like I said, the biggest thing is I want to be positioned to have the best opportunities possible when I get done being a race car driver, and one of those opportunities is to be a team owner.

“For that to have any chance of being successful, it’s going to be critical for me to have all of my ducks in a row specific to having other income-generating businesses.  This is the only way I could get the opportunity to do that, so I feel like it’s the right decision.”

 

Keselowski announced on Thursday his intent to close BKR – his two-team Camping World Truck Series organization – following the 2017 season, and followed the announcement with an ambiguous blog on his personal site that admitted the financial difficulties of the tour while also suggesting that the move opened up future opportunities for the Michigander.

Thursday’s announcement was just the latest in a string of team closures and uncertainty as NASCAR’s various members all struggle through economic difficulties. Championship drivers like Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch are still unconfirmed for a 2018 drive, while teams like BKR, Red Horse Racing and Tommy Baldwin Racing have all made plans to leave the sport in some respect.

Despite the financial burden, Keselowski remains confident that the Truck Series will continue to keep a foothold in NASCAR.

“The Truck Series has been around a long time,” Keselowski said. “It’s gonna be around a lot longer than me, so I’m not so self-centered to think that series is based solely on my team and participation.  It’ll be around. It’ll be all right.”

Despite the team’s demise, Keselowski will keep most of the assets for future projects, including the race shop and much of the team’s equipment.

“I’m actually gonna keep a good bit of it,” Keselowski said. “The trucks and the parts go out of style and are irrelevant so quickly that I’m gonna liquidate that, but a good part of the equipment that we do have I’m gonna keep and utilize for future opportunities.”

The 33-year-old will also keep most of his employees working, whether with him or Team Penske.

“I feel like we’ll be able to find a good home for probably 75 percent of the group, whether that’s new business opportunities, Team Penske or different things I still need people for within the fold that I have,” Keselowski said. “I feel really bad for the 25 percent that I’m not gonna be able to find a spot for, but I’m wishing them the best and thankful for their help over the years.”

As for Keselowski himself, the future remains uncertain. He recently negotiated a contract extension with Team Penske – one that may see his former Truck Series continue on in some respect.

“I do think that we have some paths,” Keselowski said. “I don’t have anything to announce, but, of course, very hopeful that will be the case.”

Beyond that, Keselowski’s plans remain to be seen.

“I don’t know where the future is gonna take me in my life,” he said. “I know that I’m trying to be positioned to have as many opportunities as possible to kind of control what that might be, and this is a necessary step business-wise to have those opportunities.  It’s not really the most pleasurable one to undertake.  In fact, it really kind of stinks, but it was the right move long-term and I’m hopeful that it works out for the best.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *