Brad Keselowski: Hard to believe it’s his sixth season with Penske already

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Though he always believes in looking ahead, Brad Keselowski looked back on his career Wednesday with Team Penske during the third day of the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, N.C.

Keselowski is entering his sixth full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series and has 16 wins, 15 with Penske. Last season he scored a single season career-high of six victories. He also has 32 Xfinity Series wins, 26 with Penske (the other six with JR Motorsports).

Time certainly has flown for the 2012 champion.

“It’s hard to believe this is my sixth year at Penske,” the Rochester Hills, Mich., native said. “It’s been a tremendous ride, and I’m looking forward to the years to come.

“All of us, driver lineup wise, I think are set up here for years to come and it’s been a heck of a ride with winning races and winning championships.”

Keselowski signed with Penske in 2009, a few months after his first Cup victory in a memorable last-lap duel with Carl Edwards (whose Ford went sailing into the catchfence at Talladega Superspeedway).

“I remember when I walked in the door at Team Penske in the fall of 2009, Penske had three teams at the time with the 2, the 77 and the 12,” Keselowski said. “I remember seeing three cars parked, separate from each other, and all the teams were different. One team was in the Chase, and the other two weren’t.

“And now, here we have all our teams working together very closely. We certainly have more wins than we’ve had in a long time as a team and probably the best relationships inside the company that I would say ever, and I’m just thrilled to be a part of that.”

With five wins by teammate Joey Logano, Penske’s Fords accounted for 11 wins last season — second to Hendrick Motorsports among Sprint Cup organizations. Keselowski attributes success to staying the same.

“The continuity is huge,” he said. “As far as how it plays forward, you can’t get stuck on the past, and we talk about that all the time at Team Penske.

“We can be proud of it and can build a platform off it, and I think for us, we focus on what we have. And what we have are those strong relationships.

“We may not have eight cars, but we have three of the best, and that’s three of the best teams. I feel like we have an advantage with that. I think that’s a part of our success last year and I think that will be a part of our success for years to come.”

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Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.