Monday, July 13, 2009

Keselowski The Belle Of The Ball

One year ago, Brad Keselowski was under consideration for a full-time ride in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He eventually signed for a full season of Nationwide competition with JR Motorsports, and a handful of Cup starts with both Phoenix Racing and Hendrick Motorsports.

This time around, Keselowski is the belle of the Sprint Cup ball, with at least three major teams reportedly vying for his services.

FOX Sports reported today that Keselowski is “the top candidate” for Penske Racing’s #12 Dodge, replacing David Stremme. After doing yeoman work as Penske’s test driver a year ago, Stremme currently stands 32nd in Sprint Cup points, prompting speculation that a change could be in the works. Keselowski was reportedly offered the Penske ride a year ago when Ryan Newman left the team for his current spot at Stewart-Haas Racing.

Keselowski is also being linked with Red Bull Racing, if Red Bull jumps from the Toyota camp to Chevrolet next season. Rick Hendrick said Saturday that Hendrick Motorsports has the resources to provide engines to Red Bull next season, and Red Bull General Manager Jay Frye is set to meet with team owner Dietrich Mateschitz this week to finalize their driver and manufacturer lineup for 2010.

Recent reports in the Indianapolis Star had Keselowski going Cup racing with JR Motorsports next season, but Dale Earnhardt, Jr. downplayed those chances, saying there is "only a 10 percent chance" of JRM changing series in 2010, and then only if he drove the car himself to attract sponsors. Keselowski is expected to return for a full Nationwide slate with JRM in 2010.

Keselowski declined to comment specifically on any of the reports last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, saying, "I have some preferences, but I haven't gotten very far with them.” He said he feels “pretty confident” that he will be a full-time Sprint Cup driver next season, adding, "it would have to be a big problem to come up for that not to happen.”

Terry Returns (Pending Sponsorship):Terry Labonte will team with Boris Said and Carter-Simo Racing beginning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and for the remainder of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Labonte is set to wheel a #08 Toyota Camry in selected events for the team, with Said driving a #08 Ford in the remainder of the schedule. The team is searching for sponsorship.

#1 Chevy Too High: Martin Truex Jr.’s Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet failed a post-race inspection after a 16th place finish Saturday night at Chicagoland, when its right-rear quarterpanel was found to be too high. The car has been taken to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for further examination, with penalties (if any) likely to be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

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