Ford Performance announced its NASCAR driver development program this week, and Brad Keselowski Racing and its newest driver, Chase Briscoe, will be the pioneering group for the new program.
“This is a big day in the history of BKR,” Brad said. “To be recognized as a true partner to Ford and Ford Performance and what they are trying to do speaks directly to the hard work our team has put in over the last several years. It is an honor, frankly, and it is really what BKR is all about – providing young, talented drivers with championship-caliber equipment to continue to hone their craft and showcase their talents. We have been fortunate to have had a lot of success together with Ford across the three major NASCAR touring series and to now elevate that relationship in an official capacity is a testament to what we set out to do.”
BKR has shown in recent years that it’s already one of the top developmental programs in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Both of Brad’s full-time drivers last year, Tyler Reddick and Daniel Hemric, landed rides in the XFINITY Series for the 2017 season. However, both are now under the Chevrolet banner: Reddick at Chip Ganassi Racing and Hemric with Richard Childress Racing. In the future, Ford hopes to build a pipeline from the Truck level to the Monster Energy Cup level.
That begins with BKR and with Briscoe, a 22-year-old Indiana native who is coming off of a 2016 championship in the ARCA stock car racing series, where he captured six wins. He has been racing since 2001 in a variety of series, including quarter midgets, sprint cars, Peak Stock Car Dream Challenge and K&N Pro Series West.
Briscoe and BKR will represent the first stage of Ford Performance’s new program. The BKR effort, as well as other to-be-announced driver development efforts at different levels, will develop talent for all Ford teams in NASCAR. Current teams will be consulted as part of the selection process, but drivers in the program will have contractual obligations to Ford.
“We’re making a commitment to win long-term in NASCAR,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “We have been increasing our engineering support and our technological development at the team level, and now we’re looking to work with our teams to find the best available drivers coming up in the sport.”
In addition to their role within the NCWTS race program and related marketing efforts, drivers in the new Ford program will also assist the company as test drivers within the Ford product development program.
“Starting this program with BKR makes sense since it has made a significant investment in its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series operation and it is reflected in its success on the track,” said Pericak. “As we at Ford look to develop new winning drivers for, ultimately, our Cup Series teams, the BKR model is a proven step in that ladder. We are enthusiastic about the role BKR will play in our efforts and we look forward to working very closely with the team in driver selection, engineering, and other mission critical areas.”