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Keselowski better off on the Hendrick “B-team” than on any other team

By admin | August 7, 2009

By Richard Allen

For what it is worth, here are some words of advice to Brad Keselowski: STAY WHERE YOU ARE! So what if you are on the Hendrick Motorsports “B-team”.

Speculation has had it that Keselowski is hoping to become a full time Sprint Cup driver in 2010, but reports have it that there are very few options available within the HMS organization or its affiliated teams. Stewart-Haas Racing does not appear to be adding a third team and word has it Keselowski would not have been the driver there if a team had been added.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. does not appear to be in the mood to move his Nationwide Series team up to the next level.

So, little is left aside from the James Finch car. If that #09 effort should work out then so be it for Keselowski. He has obviously shown he can win in that car with his victory in Talladega. However, there would be issues with that team becoming a full time Hendrick satellite operation.

He may not like and it may not be the plan he would choose for himself, but Keselowski’s best option is to stay where he is. Driving for JR Motorsports, which is in reality an extension of HMS, is better than most Sprint Cup rides.

And more, leaving HMS for Penske, as has been rumored, or some other team outside the Hendrick umbrella would likely doom his chances of ever driving for the sport’s premier team.

Just look at the number of wins, the point standings or any other statistic and it will show that over the past several years few teams even come close to matching HMS. Driving for that organization while biding his time for a retirement or some type of expansion under that HMS umbrella would be better than rushing to a second rate Cup team. And for all intents and purposes, every other team not associated with HMS is a second rate team right now.

I know someone will want to point out that Kurt Busch, in a Penske car, is 4th in the standings and has won a race. But remember, he missed the Chase for the Championship last year. Penske has two wins over the last two years while HMS and its satellite teams have many more.

Joe Gibbs Racing has won numerous races in the last two seasons, but last year folded under Chase pressure. And, it is looking like JGR may only place one car in the Chase this season. Also, Keselowski hopes to stay in his JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series. Neither Toyota nor Chevy is going to go for him splitting time.

Roush Fenway Racing is already overstocked with drivers. Richard Petty Motorsports is having financial troubles. Richard Childress Racing has really slipped this season.

When looking at the NASCAR landscape, there is no place better than where he is for Keselowski.

The JR Motorsports Nationwide ride may only be the “B-team” at HMS but it is still better than the “A-team” anywhere else.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

6 Responses to “Keselowski better off on the Hendrick “B-team” than on any other team”

  1. Ginger Says:
    August 8th, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    You’re probably right. I wonder if MM ever thinks about the fact that he has already screwed up four young driver’s careers. Mighty dang selfish.

  2. J.J. Says:
    August 8th, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Keselowski should take the step to Cup.

    Everybody talks about how great Hendrick is and they are. But mostly it’s Jimmy Johnson and now Mark Martin (and, yes, Stewart, too), but Gordon wins sporadically, and Earnhardt, well, he’s Earnhardt and he struggles, can’t quite grasp the COT. But, he’s not alone, so there’s that, too.

    If Hendrick is the greatest team, then ALL their drivers should be the only ones winning, right? But they’re not.

    Here’s a simple fact: TALENT wins where ever it goes, it’s that simple. Could Brad win in a Gibbs car? Absolutely. Could he win at DEI (or whatever it’s call now)? You bet. Could he win in a Penske car? He could win in a Penske truck… He could win at Childress. Winners win, simple enough.

    Waiting for that ride to open up at Hendrick–the 5 car–might not happen. What if Martin decides NOT to retire or scale back? Then what, Brad losses his shot there. What if Stewart can’t find sponsorship for a third car?

    No, the option is Brad sucks it up and jumps to Cup. You gotta take your opportunities when they come by, otherwise they might not come around again.



  3. StevieRay Vaughan Fan Says:
    August 9th, 2009 at 6:01 am

    With all due respect, and I sincerely do not mean to be harsh in any way, but, since when does an older driver who has spent 20+ years over their career advising and coaching a myriad of younger drivers at how to get around this track or that, freely giving of themselves their time and experience to help others possibly beat them on the track, somehow now “owe” anything to a younger driver?

    Did I miss a memo?

    Oh, so a driver with a series high 4 wins should be put out to pasture and step down so that a younger driver has a ride? What about all of the younger drivers who, despite the advantage of age, aren’t getting it done on the track? Why doesn’t one of them take themselves out of the game so that a spot opens up for someone else.

    This is a sport, and in sports you have competition, which means people compete at the races and for the opportunities to be in a car for those races.

    Brad might still be in the same position his brother Brian is if Dale Jr, who IS older than him, didn’t give him a shot in his ride in the first place. Same goes for Martin Truex Jr, who also owes Dale Jr and Theresa for giving him a shot at Chance 2 Motorsports in the first place.

    Young people owe it to the generations(s) that have come before them and laid the groundwork, not the other way around, and I’m only in my 30’s so it isn’t like I am some old badger saying this.

  4. StevieRay Vaughan Fan Says:
    August 9th, 2009 at 6:09 am

    Oh, and on the topic of the original article, I’m inclined to agree with the author, for the reasons they already outlined regarding the current status of the other teams.

    Although, since running the new Dodge engine, Penske’s performance has stepped up, and Kahne is running much better since RPM started using the new engine in the #9 car as well. The problem is that Penske has never been as consistently good as HMS despite the fact that money is no object for Roger Penske. They’ve had some great spurts, but they just do not seem to maintain it. HMS, on the other hand, can be down a little like we saw last year when Edwards and Busch were winning left and right, and yet HMS caught right back up to them in the same year.

  5. StevieRay Vaughan Fan Says:
    August 9th, 2009 at 7:12 am

    I’m going to get banned, and I’m sorry, but I’m going to mention this in the hopes that others who do not know this, will come to know this.

    4-5 years ago almost no one had ever heard of the name Joey Logano. However, this respected vet in the Cup series started bringing his name up in interviews, and the garage area, and pretty much anyone who would listen about this incredibly talented kid called Joey Logano and if the cup owners were smart they would rush out to sign him (at the ripe old age of 13) while they still could. This well respected vet was one of Logano’s earliest cheerleaders who helped start the buzz about him and get him noticed.

    In 1997 Matt Kenseth and Robbie Reiser were struggling to attract the interest of sponsors, running a partial schedule, and at the beginning of 1998 their sponsor deal fell through. Again, during this time of struggle, there was that same well known, highly respected Cup driver who was saying that Matt Kenseth was going to be a star, and deserved a ride. This cup driver convinced Jack Roush to intervene and help Kenseth and Reiser in the busch series, and then to sign them to the cup series. Kenseth would go on to give Roush his first cup championship and his first daytona 500 victory.

    The name of that Cup Driver? Mark Martin.

    That’s just 2 guys, who are now in top rides in the Cup series who may well have been a “never was” were it not for Mark Martin helping them and helping to get them noticed, and this list could go on and on and on.

  6. J.J. Says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Hmmm… Guess Brad realized that waiting for Mark Martin to retire (especially given that martin said in a recent interview that he was staying at Hendrick for a long time) wasn’t going to happen after all…

    And, like I said, Cup rides with front line teams are few and far between, you gotta take advantage of the chance win you get it… This isn’t Wallace and Newman’s Penske team anymore, Busch, Hornish, and Kesolowski will win their share of races come 2010. Here’s my prediction: All three of Penske drivers will WIN at least one race in 2010 and at least two of them will make the 2010 Chase.