On the latest episode of his podcast, Junior talked about Keselowski’s move to Roush Fenway, where he thinks the driver/owner can take the company in the future, and why Keselowski’s fans shouldn’t get their hopes too high and should expect to endure some tough days ahead.
Brad Keselowski signs with Roush Fenway Racing
After months of speculation, Brad Keselowski officially announced his new deal with Roush Fenway in late July during a press conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame with Jack Roush and members of the management team.
“It’s been a heck of a journey with Roger Penske and the whole team,” Keselowski admitted. “I’m really proud of it. I’d be remiss to say I’m a little bit sad to leave some great people, some great friendships. But I’m excited with this opportunity in front of me. It’s an incredible opportunity.”
As part of the new deal starting in 2022, Keselowski will drive the No. 6 car, have a minority stake in the company, and have an important role on the competition committee.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. warns Brad Keselowski fans about tough days ahead
If anyone knows about Brad Keselowski and owning a team, it’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. It was his role as co-owner at JR Motorsports that connected the two in the first place. In other words, the two-time Daytona 500 winner and Hall of Famer can provide an informed assessment on Keselowski and the overall Roush Fenway situation.
During the latest episode of the Dale Jr. Download, Earnhardt did just that when asked about the immediate impact he believes Keselowski will have in turning things around at Roush Fenway. His brutally honest assessment suggested tough days are ahead.
“Brad is going to Roush. They’ve struggled to compete with where Brad is currently at Penske,” Earnhardt admitted. “I think that kind of continues. So when Brad goes to Roush, things just aren’t going to turn around immediately. I could be wrong, and I hope that I am wrong. I hope that they get everything out of that deal that they want right away.
“But I think it will be a process to improve cars and get things better and get that organization to where they used to be. I think Brad can do it. I think Brad can get them there, but I don’t know if it happens right away. I would not be surprised to see the performance stay relatively where it is now with a few glimpses of the future mixed in. You’re going to have those moments where you’re going to see Brad overachieve in those cars in the first year, and then that’s kind of what the potential is for them in the future. I expect it to go that way.”
Earnhardt accurately warned Denny Hamlin fans about 2021
For those who might question Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s accuracy in forecasting these types of moves, look no further than what he said about Denny Hamlin before the start of the 2021 season, Hamlin’s first year as co-owner of 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan.
Earnhardt said on his podcast that he expected it to be challenging for Hamlin with a whole new set of responsibilities.
“When he’s in the car, it’s not going to bother him,” he said. “When he’s on the race track, it’s not going to be a distraction at all. He’s absolutely going to have more stuff on his plate. I’m not going to sugarcoat it and say that it’s going to be a breeze. It’s going to be tough. Being an owner is a difficult job on its own. You couple that with also being a driver for a different car, and different company. He’s got to worry about the performance of his team and his performance as a driver. And have all those same exact concerns for a whole other race car as the owner.”
Hamlin has failed to win a single race as a driver this season and is currently battling to make the playoffs. The 23XI Racing Team with driver Bubba Wallace has earned a single top-10 finish all year. Like Earnhardt predicted, Hamlin’s year as an owner and driver has been challenging. Keselowski can expect much of the same next year.