Keselowski Calls Out Gibbs, Hendrick
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on June 14, 2013 | 11:40 A.M. EST
"What keeps it from going too far is the fact 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." (Photo: Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski blames Toyota-backed Joe Gibbs Racing and Chevrolet-backed Hendrick Motorsports for a “nasty little habit’’ that is keeping Ford teams from sharing as much information as possible, according to the Detroit Free Pass. Car owners Rick Hendrick and Joe Gibbs fired back Friday with Gibbs calling Keselowski's comments "misguided and irresponsible.''
Keselowski said sharing more information helps Penske and Roush but could come at a cost with what he says Gibbs and Hendrick are doing. He said Gibbs "stole'' the Roush's aero director and that Hendrick "took'' three employees from Keselowski's championship team.
“There are little things you can do,” Keselowski told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday about Ford teams sharing information. “What keeps it from going too far is the fact 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.
“When that happens, that puts walls up between the camps because you are giving up more than one piece of information — you are giving up two companies’ information and trying to protect yourself against that. It forces you to put up walls.
“It doesn’t necessarily lend itself to working together. But still, we are going to put in a valiant effort where we can and where it makes sense to put Ford in a position to have the best results possible.’’
Gibbs countered Keselowski's charges Friday.
“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
Hendrick also attacked Keselowski's comments Friday.
"Roger Penske and I are great friends and have raced together for years,'' Hendrick said. "We’ve always competed with the utmost respect, and I have immense admiration for his organization. You won’t find anyone at Hendrick Motorsports who feels differently.
“The comments Brad reportedly made were misinformed. 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 aboveboard and is part of doing business in a competitive environment. I take no issue with any of it, and I expect Roger 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.”cited two cases of where he said Hendrick and Gibbs swayed Ford team employees with big offers.
“Gibbs stole the Roush aero director and took all the information,” Keselowski said. “And Hendricks took three employees from our Chase-winning team last year
Keselowski told the Detroit Free Press that he does not like what he claims Gibbs and Hendrick - who have combined to win nine of the first 14 Cup races this season - have done.
“It is terrible,” said Keselowski. “There’s a reason those two teams are higher up on the boards than us — they have more money and sponsors to do so; it’s almost like Major League Baseball in that sense,’’ Keselowski told the Detroit Free Press. “The Yankees and Red Sox are always going to outbid the Oakland Athletics. That’s just part of the deal. So, you find yourself trying to play moneyball to beat them.”