It’s not the Cup, but Brad Keselowski will race for a title at Homestead after all

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Team Penske’s Joey Logano is among the Championship 4 that will compete for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

His teammate, Brad Keselowski, is not despite finishing fourth in yesterday’s Eliminator Round finale at Phoenix.

But Keselowski will nonetheless be racing for a title in South Florida – perhaps not the one he really wants, but one that would be appreciated ’round Penske Way.

Logano was slated to drive the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang in this coming Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series finale, the Ford Ecoboost 300.

Keselowski drove said car to victory this past Saturday in Arizona, which padded the No. 22’s lead in the NNS owner’s championship to 29 points over the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54.

But with Logano now involved in a winner-take-all battle for the Sprint Cup against Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman, he’s handing over his Nationwide duties at Homestead to Keselowski, who will try to give Roger Penske his second consecutive NNS owner’s crown.

Multiple NASCAR reporters including Bob Pockrass of the Sporting News and ESPN’s Jamie Little have confirmed the news:

This is definitely the right call to make for Team Penske, which needs Logano to focus on beating Harvick, Hamlin, and Newman in Sunday’s 400-mile Cup finale and nothing else.

As for Keselowski, he’s been stellar in Nationwide competition this year. His Phoenix win on Saturday was his fifth NNS win of 2014 in 10 starts, and he’s finished no worse than fourth in any of them. His average finish in those 10 starts? A staggering 1.8.

Needless to say, Team Penske should feel pretty confident about handing the ball off to Keselowski for Saturday.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”