BRISTOL, Tenn. — Money isn’t the solution to everything – but in the business world, it certainly helps.
Profitability wasn’t the only factor in Brad Keselowski’s decision to close the doors of his Camping World Truck Series team Brad Keselowski Racing, which he announced Thursday.
However, the Team Penske driver did note Friday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway that he “probably (would) not” have closed the team could it have been more lucrative.
“There were a lot of decisions that went into it,” Keselowski told media in front of the No. 2 hauler. “There wasn’t really one reason, but certainly at some point every business needs to have some profitability, but I never went into it expecting to make money, so I can’t really blame that … Everybody is losing a little, but that was one of the factors. I wouldn’t say it was the only one.”
The biggest factor was his long-term plan: Keselowski elaborated on his earlier comments that indicated his decision was also affected by his eventual goal to own a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team, and that he intends to use the former Brad Keselowski Racing facility for that at some point.
While he recognized that “is many years down the line,” he also said he has a plan for the future, an endeavor that will he hopes will sustain long after he hangs up his fire suit.
“It’s a little bit of a counter-offensive with respect to if you look at all the business owners at this level – and really all three of these levels – they have a sustainable, profitable business outside of motorsports and that’s going to remain the key for any owner to have success because the reality is I can only be a race car driver for so long,” Keselowski said. “When that time comes up, my business would have had to shut down because I don’t have a profit center, and having that profit center is what helps you get through the ebbs and flows that every race team has, so I need to have one of those profit centers.
“That doesn’t mean that I’ll be a Cup owner one day, but that means when the time is right if we achieve the goals that I have, I’ll have the opportunity to make that decision myself and not have it made for me.”
But he remained somewhat tight-lipped as to specifics.
“We’re not ready to announce anything, but I know where I want to go and we’re in the middle of putting all that together,” Keselowski said. “Until it’s together, I don’t want to get too far down the road with it, but I know that I’m committed to the facility and the community to have an operational and functioning business in that area and plan to do just that. Hopefully, that opens a spot to retain a good number of our people.”
Keselowski also acknowledged the pain that comes with closing a team for drivers Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe and the employees.
“It’s very difficult,” he said. “I feel like we’ll be able to find a good home for probably 75 percent of the group, whether that’s new business opportunities, Team Penske or different things I still need people for within the fold that I have. I feel really bad for the 25 percent that I’m not gonna be able to find a spot for, but I’m wishing them the best and thankful for their help over the years.
“Being a business owner, it’s more about the people than anything else,” he said later. “You care about them and they give you their all, and you want to give them your all. In some ways you feel like you’re letting them down when you’re not able to keep it going, so that’s never any fun.”
With the difficult news announcement out in the open, Keselowski sets his sights on his future in the sport.
“The biggest thing is I want to be positioned to have the best opportunities possible when I get done being a race car driver, and one of those opportunities is to be a team owner,” he said. “For that to have any chance of being successful, it’s going to be critical for me to have all of my ducks in a row specific to having other income-generating businesses.
“This is the only way I could get the opportunity to do that, so I feel like it’s the right decision.”