NASCAR driver shakeup adds fuel to the rumors of Brad Keselowski becoming a team owner
In recent months, a rumor has circulated that Brad Keselowski plans to leave Team Penske and become a driver and co-owner at Roush Fenway Racing.
One half of that rumor has been confirmed with the 2022 driver lineup announcement from Wood Brothers Racing and Team Penske. Austin Cindric will replace Brad Keselowski in the No. 2 at Team Penske.
In a previous announcement, it was expected that Austin Cindric would move to Wood Brothers Racing for 2022. With the change, Harrison Burton has been announced to take over the No. 21 next year.
So far, it appears that Matt DiBenedetto will become a free agent as he’s out of the No. 21 without a car.
Roger Penske comments
“Austin is a champion and has proven his abilities both on and off the track.” team owner Roger Penske opened in a statement.
He added, “The Cup Series is a big step for any rookie but making this move now, in conjunction with the introduction of the new Next Gen car, makes sense. He has gained valuable experience this year competing in a handful of races at the Cup level and he has shown that he belongs out there.”
Eddie Wood of Wood Brothers Racing comments on 2022
“As a team owner, you always want to keep an eye for the future and what’s best for your organization in hopes to set yourself up for success long-term,” said team President and Co-Owner Eddie Wood.
“As things have progressed and changed over the last few months, we had the chance to look at what our options are and when we determined that Harrison would be available for our team, we wanted to jump at the opportunity to work with him. Harrison is young, but comes from a family full of successful race car drivers.
“The advice and support they can offer to Harrison as he makes this transition will be very important to his success. What a lot of us forget is that he is not even 21 years old yet and has only been racing in both the Truck Series and Xfinity Series for a couple of years. So when we looked at the future and finding someone to build our program around, Harrison seemed like a great option.”
Austin Cindric on Team Penske in 2022
“Throughout my NASCAR career, I’ve grown a lot as a driver and an individual,” Cindric said in a team statement.
“There are so many individuals within the walls of Team Penske that have elevated me to a level that matches this opportunity. The support towards my development from Roger, Team Penske, and all of our partners has been the leading factor towards race wins and a championship.”
“The No. 2 car is iconic to this sport and is a number that represents the foundation of this team. It is a great honor and a great responsibility to continue that role. As 2022 gets closer, I am excited to embrace that. Until then, my focus remains on winning another Xfinity Series Championship.”
Harrison Burton on 2022 plans
“Since I began racing quarter midgets, the hope and goal was always to become a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series,” Harrison Burton said.
“Now, I get to do this with one of the most storied teams in NASCAR history in the Wood Brothers and with an association with Ford Motor Company and Ford Performance.”
Burton concluded, “I don’t think I could have dreamt of a better situation to put myself in when it comes to the start of my NASCAR Cup Series career. Add to that the technical alliance with Team Penske and the knowledge I’ll gain from working with their drivers and I’m really excited for 2022 and the future. This is a great opportunity for me and I can’t thank Eddie and Len Wood enough for giving me this chance.”