Keselowski hopes "we can find a good balance" with Cup driver limits

As a Camping World Truck Series team owner, Brad Keselowski wants NASCAR’s minor leagues to remain strong.

Keselowski hopes "we can find a good balance" with Cup driver limits
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford, Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway Racing Ford and Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford, Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Ryan Preece, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford, Elliott Sadler, JR Motorsports Chevrolet, Tyler Reddick, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford

On Tuesday, when the sanctioning body introduced its new participation requirements limiting veteran Cup contenders from competing in more than seven races the Xfinity and five races in the truck series, he was somewhat surprised.

Finding the balance

The former Xfinity Series champ, who will compete in this weekend’s Zippo 200 at the Glen, describes the new guidelines as an emotional and complicated topic.

“We’ve had a situation in the last decade where — without a doubt — it has gotten out of balance,” Keselowski said. “And that could definitely be attributed to one person, not just the success, but the means of accomplishing that success. So I understand the sentiment that a lot of fans may have towards that. Sometimes I share it. Sometimes I don’t. Hopefully, we can find a good balance.

“I thought we had hit a good balance with 10 races — and some limitations. I think the pendulum was all the way to left for a quite while and has now swung all the way over to the right. There’s probably a balance point, but I thought that we had probably, personally, already hit it.”

This year, drivers with more than five-years experience in Cup were able to compete in 10 NXS races and 7 truck events. Along with the new limitations, any driver running for Cup points will not be allowed to compete in playoff races, the series finale or the NXS Dash 4 Cash events.

Although the Drivers’ Council expressed its displeasure with the decision, the sanctioning body pushed the amendments through, according to Keselowski. Still, the 2012 Cup champion’s main concern is the well-being of NASCAR. He understands the sport’s necessity to shine the spotlight on the aspiring stars. 

“There are big pies here and big things going on and it’s easy to get lost in the drivers’ piece and lose sight of everything else,” Keselowski added. “The way I view it, is this is one piece of pie for the health of the sport. Obviously, I’ve invested my like into this sport, to date, which means it’s my legacy. With respect to the health of the sport, I’m going to fight like hell for it — good, bad or indifferent. 

“With respect to that, it’s hard to see the Xfinity Series becoming stronger when it’s positioned to mimic other series that are weaker. I think that’s an over-arching take.”

Contract extension

Keselowski was thrilled to knock out a new contract with five races remaining in the regular season. Now, the No. 2 Team Penske Brew Crew can concentrate on the Playoffs.

“Contracts are a huge distraction — a ginormous distraction,” Keselowski said. “So to get that done is a certainly a good thing for everybody.”

Ford had a Kumbaya retreat at Pocono to rally the troops. According to Keseslowski, the drivers roasted marshmallows and sang Bob Seeger songs. On a more serious note, Keselowski is concerned with having enough speed to keep up with the Toyotas in the Playoffs. Although he won two races early in the season, his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford hasn’t been to Victory Lane since Martinsville in April. 

“We’re not even close,” Keselowski said. “Most of the field will tell you that. (The Toyotas are) a good half-second faster than the field, so we’ll have to figure it out. We’re B’s across the board — including myself. It’s a dynamic sport with respect to — you can get better or worse at any moment. 

“But right now, we’re good enough to have days like we had a Pocono (fifth-place) where you get a lot of stage points (16), but that’s really the upper limits of our capability right now.”

 

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