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Keselowski closing truck team partly because of finances

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

By JENNA FRYER

AP Auto Racing Writer

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) Brad Keselowski is closing his truck series team at the end of the season, a decision that in part came down to him losing money on the venture.

Brad Keselowski Racing has fielded trucks in NASCAR since 2008, and more than a dozen young drivers have come through his organization. His team has won nine Camping World Truck Series races and twice contended for the championship. Keselowski fields two full-time Fords - for Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric - and has about 50 employees.

Yet Keselowski has not turned a profit on his passion, and has said before he loses $1 million a year on the program. Red Horse Racing also suspended its truck operations in May.

"There wasn't really one reason, but certainly at some point every business needs to have some profitability," Keselowski said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "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."

His father, Bob Keselowski, was a Truck Series team owner until 2005.

"The Truck Series is truly special to me given my family's ties to the history of the sport, and this decision comes with much contemplation," Keselowski said.

He hopes to one day field cars in the NASCAR Cup Series, and the decision to close the truck operations could move that along.

"I've never made it a secret that I would eventually like to be an owner at the top level of the sport," Keselowski said. "And, while this is many years down the line, I want to start to prepare for that possibility now.

"Part of that preparation is seeking to develop an advanced engineering and manufacturing company that would be housed out of our 78,000-square-foot facility in Statesville (North Carolina) and ultimately help to support this vision."

The decision to close the team came last month, Keselowski said, when he signed an extension to continue to drive a Ford for Team Penske. Many thought the lengthy contract negotiations were in part because Keselowski wanted more support from Ford for BKR.

"You always want more, but it's a pie and there is only so much to go around. I don't know exactly what Ford's interests are or weren't," he said. "I can't really speak to that. It wasn't really a factor in the decision."

Updated August 18, 2017

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