Hendrick Is Fired Up, Says Keselowski Lacks Class
Brad Keselowski and Rick Hendrick chat prior to the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR Sprint Cup teams are competitive with each other everywhere, on the track being the most obvious example.
Top-level NASCAR teams also battle with each other for resources, including sponsors and key employees. That’s not news — it’s been going on for years.
But when the reigning champion accuses two of the most successful teams of poaching, well, sometimes it gets personal.
And that’s exactly what happened this week, as Brad Keselowski teed off on Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. Keselowski told USA Today that “Hendrick and Gibbs have this nasty little habit of going to other teams and outbidding other people and taking those employees and stealing our information.”
Hendrick fired back quickly Friday morning, issuing a statement quoting team owner Rick Hendrick as saying, “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.”
Strong words from the normally mild-mannered Hendrick, to be sure.
And yet another case of, “boys have at it.”
UPDATE: Friday, June 14th -- 4:30p ET
Late Friday afternoon, Joe Gibbs Racing issued the following statement, attributed to team owner Joe Gibbs:
“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.
“Obviously NASCAR is a very competitive environment and we take our hiring processes seriously at JGR. The individual he referenced in his comments was working outside of the sport of NASCAR at the time we hired him.
“We have a great deal of respect for Roger Penske and his organization and I feel like I have always had a good personal relationship with Roger. We look forward to competing with Brad on the racetrack, but hope that he will use better judgment in the future before making such misinformed claims and accusations.”