Why Brad Keselowski’s Bittersweet Daytona 500 Finish was Sweet for RFK Racing

Why Brad Keselowski’s Bittersweet Daytona 500 Finish was Sweet for RFK Racing
Why Brad Keselowski’s Bittersweet Daytona 500 Finish was Sweet for RFK Racing

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  • In accordance to studies, Brad Keselowski was offered a agreement extension to stay with Staff Penske past 2021.
  • It is thought he reported no since he would nearly undoubtedly in no way become a section-proprietor of the Penske racing firm.
  • Keselowski went on to sign a deal to turn out to be driver and element operator of RFK Racing.

    It was about 15 months ago that previous NASCAR winner Brad Keselowski ended his 13-yr relationship with Team Penske and signed on as part-proprietor and complete-time driver for the Ford-based mostly Roush-Fenway Racing group.

    Keselowski had produced his title with Penske—34 Cup Sequence victories and the 2012 championship—so the transfer from hired gun to operator/driver with a fiscal stake in RFR was not devoid of its challenges.

    “I assume it will bring a whole lot to the business, from not only Brad’s potential behind the wheel, but a rejuvenation and fresh viewpoint throughout our groups,” Roush, a NASCAR group owner considering the fact that 1988, stated at the time. “I’ve experienced the opportunity to enjoy Brad for a quantity of years, as he has fought and clawed his way up the ladder, molding himself into a winner and a single of the best drivers in our activity. I’ve often admired his solve and determination. I’m really pleased that he has chosen to be a section of our corporation and I’m proud to companion with him shifting into the future.”

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    Brad Keselowski still left Penske Racing to be a component operator of RFK Racing and to assist flip the group all over.

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    In accordance to experiences, Keselowski was presented a agreement extension to remain with Team Penske over and above 2021, but said no simply because he would practically undoubtedly in no way grow to be a element-proprietor of the corporation.

    “He and I talked about this more than the decades,” Penske informed motorsports author Nate Ryan. “There ended up conversations about obtaining ownership in the group, but the way we’re structured and the subsidiaries we have, it wouldn’t have labored out. He comprehended that. It was amicable all the way.”

    Roush Fenway Racing was delighted to get a driver and deep-thinker as superior as Keselowski. So much, it seems like the daring vocation go is shelling out off.

    Very last yr, the 1st for Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, he and teammate Chris Buescher gained both 150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500. Afterwards in the year, Buescher received the infamous night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. But regardless of Keselowski’s “new-look” management position, RFK did not have terrific achievement. Blended, he and Buescher had just the one particular victory, four prime-5 finishes and 16 prime-10s. Buescher was 21st in factors, Keselowski 24th.

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    Brad Keselowski, still left, and Chris Buescher could be a formidable tandem this year.

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    All together, nevertheless, Keselowski cautioned that rebuilding the after-formidable Roush-owned workforce would be neither brief nor easy. He urged persistence and comprehension, telling critics and cynics alike that he felt his new technical and administrative and staff strategies would yield stable effects quicker rather than later on. It experienced been yrs due to the fact Roush’s treasured Fords experienced been regular NASCAR winners.

    If Sunday afternoon’s Daytona 500 is any gauge, Keselowski’s “sooner” could possibly be faster than even he predicted.

    In the No. 6 Ford, he led six occasions for a race-significant 42 laps and Buescher, in the No. 17 Ford, led five periods for 32 laps, second-most among the 21 drivers who swapped the direct 52 instances. But the benefits are combined: Buescher finished fourth over-all, 2nd among the the Ford motorists. And soon after leading in the remaining laps, Keselowski was relegated to 22nd-location end when he crashed on the 211th lap of the 212-lap, double-additional time race, the longest in Daytona 500 heritage.

    Not surprisingly, Buescher had combined feelings about the day. “Ultimately, even getting back again to fourth” (right after losing floor in the initial time beyond regulation), it ought to truly feel excellent, but I experience like we had far more in us today,” he mentioned. “We just weren’t ready to hoist that trophy. Amongst both of those of our cars, we were up entrance a large amount of the day there is a ton to be proud of. I just obtained a small behind in the 1st overtime and survived the upcoming one particular.”

    It was, all in all, a bittersweet day… but one that will enable RFK get greater.

    Contributing Editor
    Unemployed after three decades as an Military officer and Vietnam vet, Al Pearce shamelessly lied his way on to a smaller newspaper’s sports activities staff in Virginia in 1969.