2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski is confident "great things" will come of his Penske Racing team's impending switch to Ford.
The team announced in August that it would leave Dodge, which finished at the bottom of the Sprint Cup manufacturers' points this season, and switch to Ford machinery. Dodge subsequently announced it would leave NASCAR at the end of 2012. Keselowski helped it win the drivers' crown in its final season.
At the NASCAR prizegiving in Las Vegas, where the 28-year-old and picked up his $5 million paycheck for winning the title, he paid tribute to Dodge but said he was confident of a bright future with his new partner.
"I want to thank Dodge for everything [it] has done, and hope to see it back in the sport," Keselowski. "Not only has 2012 been a tremendous season, 2013 is shaping up to be an even better year.
"I'm looking forward to being with Ford. I think we have got great things [ahead]. "[To] everyone at Penske racing I think the best is yet to come. I want to stay committed to working as hard as we can, and I promise everyone at Penske to do my best to make sure we will be back and on this stage."
Keselowski said the elation of a first Sprint Cup title had done nothing to dim his enthusiasm, admitting he cannot wait to test the new-for-2013 cars.
"I want to thank the whole technical staff working on the 2013 car, it promises to be one of the best cars we've ever seen in the sport, if not the best, in both performance and safety," he said. "I can't wait to get back to work. I know we're testing it here in a few weeks and I am so looking forward to that – it's hard for me to celebrate I'm looking forward to it that much."
The next test of the new models is set to take place at Charlotte on Dec. 11-12, with a second test slated at the same venue on Jan. 17-18.