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Brad Keselowski savors Coke 600 win while contemplating future

Brad Keselowski explains why winning the Coke 600 is one of the biggest victories of his career, describes the emotional roller coaster of representing SSgt. Donovan Reep, and reviews the restarts that keyed his win.

Brad Keselowski celebrated his 30th career Cup win with Team Penske early Monday morning by saying “I think I got another 30 left in me. I’d like to have the chance at it.”

Keselowski, who has 31 total Cup wins, is a free agent after this season.

Asked if his victory in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 would give him added value, the former Cup champion said: “I know winning never hurts.

“I wish I had more news, but I don’t. So, yeah, winning is not a bad thing. I hope to continue to compete at a very high level and be able to win races for a long time.”

The 36-year-old Keselowski is in his 11th full-time Cup season with Team Penske. Jimmie Johnson (19th full-time season with Hendrick Motorsports), Denny Hamlin (15th full-time season with Joe Gibbs Racing) and Kyle Busch (13th full-time season with Joe Gibbs Racing) are the only active drivers who have been with the same Cup team longer than Keselowski has been with Team Penske.

Keselowski acknowledged several factors will determine what he’ll do next season.

“It’s not all up to me,”he said. “A lot of things have to come together, whether it’s sponsors or whatnot, management things. That hasn’t happened yet.”

During his interview with Fox after the race, Keselowski acknowledged sponsor Miller Lite, which has been a significant part of his career but has diminished its role as a primary sponsor in recent years.

“I don’t know what’s gonna happen with them, if they’re gonna come back on the car or what, but it’s been a great 10-year ride with them and this is their only race of 2020 and we’re in victory lane,” Keselowski said.

Keselowski is just part of a robust free agent market.

Much of what happens could center on the No. 48 car at Hendrick Motorsports. This is Jimmie Johnson’s final full-time season, and the team has not announced a replacement. Sponsor Ally Financial is signed as a full-season primary sponsor of the team through the 2023 season, meaning a driver would not need to bring sponsorship with them.

Among the drivers with contracts that expire after this season or have an option for next season that could be declined are Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Bubba Wallace, Corey LaJoie and Ty Dillon. Kyle Larson was a part of his class before Chip Ganassi Racing fired him April 14 for using a racial slur during a sim racing event. Larson remains indefinitely suspended by NASCAR.

While there could be opportunities elsewhere, Keselowski said he likes what he has with his new team. Car owner Roger Penske shuffled drivers and crews within his organization before the season. Keselowski was paired with Jeremy Bullins and Bullins’ crew.

Keselowski said he sees the progress his team is making with the Hendrick Motorsports cars that have been fast this season on the bigger tracks.

“They were just a touch better, but we weren’t far off,” Keselowskisaid. “I think this is as close or the closest we’ve been to them. But we still have a little bit of work to do. We need to keep iterating, getting faster.

“They seem to be a little faster than what we do in dirty air. In clean air we’re close to them, maybe even a touch faster. In dirty air they seem to be just a little bit faster. I think we have a little bit of work to do.

“We can do it. We just have to put our head down and stay focused on it.”