Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski says Penske Racing and Roush Fenway Racing are reluctant to share information on their Ford cars this season because Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing steal information.
“What keeps it from going too far is the fact Hendrick and Gibbs have this nasty little habit of going to our teams and outbidding different people and taking those employees and stealing our information,” Keselowski said Thursday from Ford’s worldwide headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.
“When that happens, that kind of puts up walls between camps, because you’re giving up more than one company’s information, you’re giving up two companies’ information.”
Keselowski believes that’s the reason why JGR and HMS have won nine of the first 14 races and have dominated in laps led heading into this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway
“There’s a reason why those two teams are higher up on the board, because they have more money and sponsors to do so,” Keselowski said. “It’s almost like Major League Baseball in that sense. The Yankees and the Red Sox are always going to be able to outbid the Oakland Athletics. That’s just a part of the deal, and you find yourself trying to play Moneyball to beat them.”
Keselowski said the two teams will work through the challenge to become more competitive. Ford drivers have won just two of this year’s 14 Cup races.
“Trying to protect yourself against that forces you to put up walls and don’t necessarily lend themselves to working together,” he said. “Still, we’re going to put in a valiant effort where we can and where it makes sense to put Ford in the best position to have the best results possible because of their level of support for both of us.”
HMS has four Cup teams that drive Chevrolets, while JGR operates three Toyota-branded teams.
Team owner Rick Hendrick responded to Keselowski’s comments.
The comments Brad reportedly made were misinformed,” Hendrick said. “The truth is that we hired one tire changer, who was a backup for Penske and whose contract was up. 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.
“All of this was above board and is part of doing business in a competitive environment. I take no issue with any of it, and I expect Roger [Penske] would say the same. Brad 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. I hope he figures that out and begins representing himself and the sport with more class.”
Joe Gibbs also took offense to what Keselowski said.
“We were surprised to read the recent comments and accusations made by Brad Keselowski. Clearly those comments are misguided and irresponsible. Brad’s candor is well documented, but he would do well to only speak to subjects on which he is properly informed.”