Friday, June 14, 2013

Keselowski Accuses Hendrick, Gibbs Of "Stealing" Employees

“Hendrick and Gibbs have this nasty little habit..."
Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski accused two rival teams of “stealing away” employees from the Penske and Roush Fenway Racing teams, saying Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing exploit their larger budgets to pirate top talent from other operations.

Speaking with reporters following a Ford Motor Co. appearance in Dearborn, Mich., Thursday, Keselowski made it clear that Ford has been negatively impacted by the loss of at least two key employees.

“Hendrick and Gibbs have this nasty little habit of going to other teams, outbidding other people, taking employees and stealing our information,” said Keselowski, adding that Roush and Penske are now less willing to share information with each other, since a single employee defection results in the loss of chassis set-ups and other technology.
“When that happens, that puts walls up between the (Ford) camps, because you are giving up more than one piece of information,” he said. “You are giving up two companies' information. Trying to protect yourself against that forces you to put up walls.
Keselowski said Joe Gibbs Racing "stole” an aerodynamics director from Roush Fenway Racing last season, while “Hendrick took three employees from our Chase-winning team last year.
"There's a reason those two teams are higher up (in the standings) than us,” he claimed. “They have more money and sponsors to do so. It's almost like Major League Baseball; the Yankees and Red Sox are always going to outbid the Oakland Athletics. That's just part of the deal.
Keselowski said teams like Penske and Roush Fenway are forced to play “moneyball” – doing more with less resources, in order to compete.
"It is terrible," he said, “but it is what it is."
“I’m not sure that we benefitted greatly..."
Told of Keselowski’s comments, five-team series champion Jimmie Johnson defended his team today, saying employees routinely move from team to team, and that the individuals involved were not high-level employees.
“The real speed in any race car is within the engineers and the crew chiefs,” he said. “So, I don’t find a lot of merit in (Keselowski’s comments). We picked a guy up from Dodge (Penske’s 2012 manufacturer) who is on our engineering staff, but he wasn’t all that close within the race team. From a crew member standpoint, we do have a mechanic that came over from Roush last year.
“I’m not sure that we benefitted greatly from those situations.”
He also said that high-value employees are generally signed to long-term contracts, preventing them from jumping from team to team.
“The best employees are under long-term contracts, so I can’t go get the best Penske guys or Roush guys,” he said. “They can’t come get (our) best pit crew guys. That’s just the way it goes.
“But in every off-season, there are a lot of people going to different race shops. Maybe they can’t go up the ladder within their own shop, so they have to go elsewhere else. Chad (Knaus) started at Hendrick, went to a few other teams, ended up at DEI, then came back. That is pretty common among guys trying to cut their teeth in the sport.”  
Johnson agreed with Keselowsk that’s sharing information has risks.
“He raised a valid point as far as… sharing information,” he said. “We are friendly with Childress, but it’s not like we open up our database and show them all we have. So, I get that and understand that, for sure. I’m sure both sides are protecting something.”

UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick reacted angrily to Keselowski’s comments today, saying in a written statement, “Brad misrepresents the facts and spends a lot of time making insinuations and accusations about other teams when he should be focused on his own program and competing at a high level.

“I hope he figures that out and begins representing himself and the sport with more class.”


  1. Debbie1:32 PM

    I think Brad is so frustrated with his season that he is starting to lash out at anything that is handy. He needs to just slow down and work on his program and maybe think a little more before he speaks. I love Brad's personality and I'm just not seeing it at the race track lately. I don't think he's having fun anymore. I hope he can turn he's season around and start having fun again

  2. Cue Justin Timberlake: "Cry me a river...."

  3. Brad needs to just shut up and race! 1x Champion is ALL he'll ever be. He's Not making many friends in the garage with those comments!

  4. Dwayne in Memphis1:44 PM

    In a related story, Dodge Motorsports accused Ford of using its bigger racing budget to pry away championship teams and leaving the organization unrepresented in Sprint Cup.

  5. Dwayne in Memphis1:46 PM

    In another related story, Brad Keselowski accuses Hendrick Motorsports of having illegal rear end setups in the race cars mere months before his own race team is penalized for illegal rear end setups in the cars.

  6. I used to like Brad's outspokeness but lately he's sounded more like he's whining all the time. Time to look to yourself and your crew chief to race better rather than blaming everyone else for your failures. Grow up little boy.

  7. Michael in SoCal2:05 PM

    All I'm hearing from Keselowski these days is 'Waaahhhhhh'.

  8. Anonymous2:18 PM

    Brad really just seems to need all the attention he can bring to himself. He seems to have to comment on anything and everything and even though he is a good driver in my eyes he will never be a Bill Elliott, dale Earnhart Sr , Dale Jarrett and such because they had class and sass and the credentials to back it up. Many could say that Brads team has been caught cheating twice this year and if you notice lately since they have been caught he has't run like he was earlier. He should just stick to driving and let his PR person do the talking.