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Keselowski to Penske? Things are certainly heating up

  Brad Keselowski pours champaign over car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. (teeshirt) (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   BRISTOL, Tenn.
   Brad Keselowski to Roger Penske's Dodge Cup team in 2010?
   There's been speculation that way for nearly a year now. And there's still no confirmation to the report, but no denials either.
   Keselowski won the Cup race at Talladega in April for the Rick Hendrick-powered James Finch Chevy team, and Keselowski won last weekend's Nationwide race at Michigan.
   Kurt Busch, Penske's number one driver, says "That's news to me," when asked about the report. And if it does come about? "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Busch said.
   Keselowski's Michigan win came in a Hendrick-powered Nationwide car owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has been something of a mentor for Keselowki.
   Hendrick and Earnhardt have been trying to put together a deal for Keselowski ever since his Sprint Cup tour breakthrough win, but sponsorship has been hard to come by. And the last few weeks Earnhardt gave strong indication that Keselowski would be going elsewhere.
   One possible hang-up, according to sources familiar with the situation is that Hendrick might have some long-term option on Keselowski's services, which could mean any Cup deal Keselowski might sign might only be good for a year or two.
   However none of the principals was willing to say much Friday about the situation.
   Keselowski himself said last weekend at Michigan that an announcement about his 2010 plans "is coming. When I make a move it's just going to happen all at once. And it's going to hit me and it's going to happen pretty soon.
    "That's why this process is taking so long -- because I am asking a lot of the teams that I want to do something with. And it just takes time to put all that together. 
    "It's not just myself in a tough spot, it's the whole series, the economy, and everyone. The key thing to remember is that even though I may not have a full time Cup deal now, and it hasn't exactly sorted itself out for next year, I am still in a good spot -- I have a ride in the Nationwide series, I have a job, and there are a lot of people out there that can't say that.
    "Sometimes you have to pinch yourself and stop whining, you know? 
     "It's really tough to be patient, but it's served me well. It's because I spent a second year in the Nationwide series without running full-time in Cup that I have been able to garner the attention I have and the results I have.  If I would have jumped to Cup this year and left Nationwide behind I don't think I would be anywhere near the position I am right now."   


I don't get it. Keselowski

I don't get it. Keselowski seems to have a great relationship with the Hendrick organization. Hendrick has the best motors, best chassis, best people, best sponsors and probably the best food as far as I know. Why would Brad want to race anywhere else? Driving for Hendrick is every racer's dream.
Penske is resurgent, but still barely a chase contender. Either Mr. Penske is offering Brad a boatload of money, or Keselowski is using this as leverage to get more out of Hendrick.
Could it be he's holding out trying to get a seat in the 24 car? Mike, you should check to see if Keselowski is paying Jeff's back doctors under the table to get him out of that car next year. :)

Two angles I'm hearing: one,

Two angles I'm hearing:
one, that Brad may have a little too much Kyle Busch in him right now; two, that Penske may be offering him a three-year deal for $5 million a year....
I just get the impression that Keselowski has been waiting all summer for Hendrick and Dale Jr. to put together a package for him, and they haven't....so he decided to stop waiting on them and go get a deal while there's still a deal to get.

Mike: START & PARK This


This comment has nothing to do with the Keselowski story; sorry.

Start n Park. What to do with it? Frankly I don't see a lot of fan hand wringing about the practice but I have to believe that most of us understand the simple economics of why S&P is done.

Yet another example. Derrike Cope finishes 26th at Bristol in the Nationwide race and his teammate Kevin Lepage finishes 40th. Cope completes 236 laps while Lepage completes 13. Neither is in the Top 30 in Nationwide Points nor on any bonus money program so Cope, with sponsor, can afford to race while Lepage without sponsor has to park. End result; prize money difference between the two is less than $500. Doesn't a set of tires alone cost about $1600? How many tire sets did Cope go through in 236 laps at Bristol?

So here's the idea. It may not fly but I'll throw it out anyway. Change prize money awards to a 3 tier program. Same monetary package just distributed differently than today.

A. Qualifying money (all teams get the same amount if they are "in the show" or it could be stair-stepped so the Pole winner gets more than 43rd. Either way would work.

B. Lap money. X amount paid for each lap completed. Example: If a set of tires costs $1600 and lasts 50 laps, if each team earns just $32 per lap they earn enough to pay for that set of tires. Certainly more money per lap would be better.

C. Prize money based on placement.

What this does, I believe, is reward those who race. Currently the incentive for non sponsored teams is to park. If they can net more money by racing, they will race and learn more as a team in the process. Maybe some SnP's can start challenging for a Top 30 points position in the future.

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