Looking toward future Cup Series ownership, Brad Keselowski to shut down Truck Series team

BRISTOL, Tenn. - Brad Keselowski will shut down his Brad Keselowski Racing team at the end of the 2017 Camping World Truck Series season.

Keselowski, who fielded the only two full-time Fords on the circuit, has earned nine wins as an owner since he started operating the team in 2008. BKR, which has about 50 employees, is winless this year, but its two drivers are in the top 10 in the standings: Chase Briscoe (fourth) and Austin Cindric (10th).

Keselowski, whose father was a longtime owner in the series until 2005, has repeatedly said that he loses more than $1 million annually on his truck program. BKR will be the second top-10 truck organization to shut down this year, as Red Horse Racing suspended operations in May.

"The Truck Series is truly special to me given my family's ties to the history of the sport, and this decision comes with much contemplation," Keselowski said. "But, for a number of reasons, and as I plan for the long-term future, I've decided not to field a team in 2018."

Keselowski's departure will leave Kyle Busch as the only NASCAR Cup driver who also owns a truck team. Both Keselowski and Busch have used their truck teams to help provide their manufacturers and Cup organizations with a place to train personnel and mold drivers.

The 33-year-old Keselowski said he hopes to one day field cars in the NASCAR Cup Series, and this move is part of that plan. "I've never made it a secret that I would eventually like to be an owner at the top level of the sport," Keselowski said. "And, while this is many years down the line, I want to start to prepare for that possibility now.

"Part of that preparation is seeking to develop an advanced engineering and manufacturing company that would be housed out of our 78,000-square-foot facility in Statesville [North Carolina] and ultimately help to support this vision."

Keselowski said Friday that he made the decision last month when he signed his contract extension to continue to drive a Ford for Team Penske. When asked whether he did not get enough support from Ford for his truck team through those negotiations, Keselowski said: "You always want more, but it's a pie and there is only so much to go around."

If the team was not in the red financially, Keselowski said he probably wouldn't have shut it down.

"It wasn't really one reason, but certainly at some point every business needs to have some profitability," Keselowski said. "I never went into it expecting to make money, so I can't really blame that.

"Everybody's losing a little. That was one of the factors. I wouldn't say it was the only one."

Keselowski, who did have some sponsorship already in place next year, said he didn't think he could have operated the team without losing money even if his team had won more races or a championship.

Two things he said weren't factors: the series allowing a crate motor (instead of a car manufacturer's engine) next year and limiting the number of races for Cup drivers.