AVONDALE, Ariz. — Brad Keselowski, you’re on the clock.
Team Penske announced Friday at Phoenix Raceway teammate Ryan Blaney had signed a multi-year extension to remain in the No. 12 Ford for next season, shifting the Silly Season focus to the 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion and impending free agent.
Keselowski has been among the central figures in the spotlight for the potential ride shuffle for next season, some even pegging the 36-year-old as the favorite to replace the retiring Jimmie Johnson at Hendrick Motorsports.
In short, it doesn’t sound like that answer will come for some time.
“I really haven’t thought about (the game plan for an extension). I haven’t put any emphasis on it,” Keselowski said Saturday before his qualifying run of 14th. “I’ve been trying to … I had a baby over the offseason, trying to enjoy that. Then we had the team change right after that, trying to make the most of that and get off to the right start here the first few weeks.”
Keselowski’s last extension was signed in July 2017.
“Honestly, I haven’t worked on it but I’m really happy for Ryan that he got his deal done,” Keselowski said. “I understand that probably puts a lot more eyes on me. … So I’m really happy for him, but I haven’t talked to anyone or gone through any of those steps. I’m sure it’ll be coming up soon. I want to race and be in contention to win for a long time. I think I’ve got a pretty good car right now and that’s certainly not always easy to come by. There’s also a lot of really good rides out there, too, so we’ll see how it goes.”
There certainly are.
In addition to the 48, other potentially open top-tier seats are Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 as well (though Alex Bowman has certainly made a strong case to keep it), along with the Nos. 10 and 14 at Stewart-Haas Racing, No. 20 at Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing.
Keselowski implied he won’t necessarily be looking to leave Penske, but if other teams are calling, he’s not letting it go to voicemail.
“I’m not dialing out,” he said. “But if somebody dials in, I’ll certainly listen for sure.”
While rumors are swirling – many of which, keep in mind, will wind up being false – there’s at least one that can be put to bed.
This was a crazy rumor… not happening. https://t.co/XSz5NlpAlA
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) March 7, 2020
“I think I can win races and be competitive for another 10 years and that’s really what I want to do,” Keselowski said. “I want to win races and win more championships. I’m certainly very committed to doing that.
“I don’t know where (the retirement rumors) came from, but if it’s on the internet, it must be true.”