Teams respond to Keselowski's criticism
June 14, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski says there will be limitations to the amount of information shared between Penske Racing and Roush Fenway Racing, in part because the information can fall into the wrong hands.
Both groups field Fords, and a push is underway to have the two work more closely together in an effort to become more competitive. Ford drivers have won just two of this year’s 14 Cup races.
"What keeps it from going too far,” Keselowski told media Friday at Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., “is the fact that Hendrick (Motorsports) and (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) have this nasty little habit of going to other teams and outbidding other people and taking those employees and stealing our information.
"(Keselowski) ... should be focused on his own program and competing at a high level."
-- Rick Hendrick
When that happens, he said, it “puts walls up between the camps because you are giving up more than one piece of information -- you are giving up two companies' information.”
HMS fields Chevrolets for four Cup teams while JGR operates three Toyota-branded teams in the series.
Team owner Rick Hendrick responded to Keselowski’s comments Friday, with the group issuing a statement in which Hendrick said the defending champion’s reported comments “were misinformed.”
“The truth is that we hired one tire changer, who was a backup for Penske and whose contract was up,” Hendrick said. “We also brought over one mechanic from their Nationwide program and, when the Penske engine shop was closing, added a few of those people. What Brad left out was that his organization also hired one of our tire changers.”
Penske Racing shut down its NASCAR engine shop at the end of the 2012 season when it made the switch from Dodge to Ford. Its engines are now provided by Roush Yates Engines.
“All of this was above board and is part of doing business in a competitive environment,” Hendrick said. “I take no issue with any of it, and I expect Roger would say the same.”
Keselowski “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,” he said. “I hope he figures that out and begins representing himself and the sport with more class.”
JGR owner Joe Gibbs responded to the Keselowski comments as well, calling them “misguided and irresponsible.
“Brad’s candor is well documented,” Gibbs said, “but he would do well to only speak to subjects on which he is properly informed. …
“We look forward to competing with Brad on the race track, but hope that he will use better judgment in the future before making such misinformed claims andaccusations.”
Keselowski said Friday that in responding to the sharing of information between the two Ford camps, “I just commented on there will always be limitations to our relationships company to company, because of those transactions.”
Asked via Twitter about Hendrick’s comments, Keselowski responded: “Respect him a ton and would rather focus on #lefturn and @mispeedway,” referencing this week’s passing of former NASCAR competitor Jason Leffler and this weekend’s Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.