Thursday’s news that Brad Keselowski’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team, Brad Keselowski Racing, would be closing their doors at the end of the 2017 season sent shockwaves through the sport, but on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, the 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion noted that he is looking toward the future with the closure of his team.
Keselowski had mentioned in the past that he has lost upwards of $1 million a year running the team, but was quick to point out that money wasn’t the only reason the doors will be closing at BKR at season’s end.
“There were a lot of decisions that went into it,” said Keselowski. “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.”
“Everybody is losing a little, but that was one of the factors. I wouldn’t say it was the only one.”
After a “few months of planning and thinking and making sure that everything was right”, Keselowski said that he finally came to the decision that closing the team would be the best course of action for him and his future once he hangs up the helmet down the road.
Keselowski said that the biggest hurdle to the team closing was having to break the news to his two drivers, Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric, as well as his numerous employees, but that he will be able to find jobs for the majority of them.
“It’s very difficult. 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. 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.”
He joked that if he had won the lottery, BKR may have been able to stay open, but outside of that, there wasn’t much that would have swayed his decision. Though his team is closing, Keselowski looks toward the future and the path he has planned for himself and his business ventures.
“I don’t know where the future is gonna take me in my life. 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.”
“I know where I want to go and we’re in the middle of putting all that together. Until it’s together, I don’t want to get too far down the road with it, but I know that I’m committed to the facility and the community to have an operational and functioning business in that area and plan to do just that. Hopefully, that opens a spot to retain a good number of our people.”
With BKR ceasing operations, the Truck Series gets handed another heavy blow after another full-time team, Red Horse Racing, also shut down earlier in 2017. Despite both his team and Red Horse pulling out of the series, Keselowski thinks the Truck Series has a long future ahead of it.
“The Truck Series has been around a long time,” he added. “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.”