2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski doesn’t come off as the kind of person who needs a side hustle to sustain himself. That hasn’t stopped him from pouring millions of his dollars into a business he believes will spark the “fourth industrial revolution.” Two years after its opening, Keselowski’s new venture has found unexpected success in an area that has little to do with racing.
Brad Keselowski tries and fails in his first venture
In 2007, Keselowski formed his own team, Brad Keselowski Racing, which operated out of Statesville, N.C. This came during an era when other active NASCAR Cup Series drivers owned teams in the lower series. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick had already done the same, and Kyle Busch would follow years later.
BKR started out in the ARCA series in 2007 before expanding into the Truck Series the following year. Over the years, they would field drivers that would go on to become NASCAR regulars, such as Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe, and Austin Cindric.
Keselowski’s team was moderately successful, winning 11 Truck Series races over its ten-year existence. However, according to Autoweek, BKR lost millions of dollars over the last four years of existence. Keselowski kept the team going for as long as he could before reluctantly closing up shop at the end of the 2017 season.
Brad Keselowski makes lemons out of lemonade
The loss of Brad Keselowski Racing left him with no use for his massive garage in Statesville. Over the next year, he sold off all of the assets of his defunct team to fund the next phase of his non-racing business. Out of the ashes of BKR would be born Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing, which Keselowski first unveiled to the public in January 2019.
KAM’s core business is “additive manufacturing” — basically, 3D printing on a large scale. Some of KAM’s initial staff of 30 were refugees from Keselowski’s initial venture who could not secure jobs elsewhere in the NASCAR garage.
It makes sense that Brad Keselowski would choose to invest in additive manufacturing. Today, the automotive, defense, and aerospace industries rely on 3D printing technology. This also applies to the field from which Keselowski derives his wealth. Racing teams are one of the earliest and most frequent adopters of 3D printing technology.
Still, he hopes to serve clients outside of racing. “If this only serves motorsports, it’ll be a tremendous failure,” he told NBC Sports in 2019. “I’m sure it’ll dabble some.”
Where is Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing after two years?
Even at its public launch, Keselowski boasted that his new company had already snagged some important customers. ALSCO, Mazak, and GE Machine, among others, were on board from the very beginning. Despite the pandemic, KAM has continued to grow and expand its customer base over the past two years.
“Nothing happens as fast as we want it to, but we’re riding a pretty big wave right now,” he told NBC Sports. “We’re working with several key launch-related companies, building some very high-end equipment to make their launches possible in ways that it wasn’t possible before.”
NASCAR could also provide an indirect boost to Keselowski’s business. Thanks to the incoming Gen-7 car, which uses common bodies to save money and time for race teams, many engineers will find themselves out of work in the coming months. After the 2020 season finale at Phoenix, Keselowski sent out feelers to any former NASCAR employees looking for work.