Don’t Look Now; Here Comes RFK Racing

Getty Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher

After Brad Keselowski ended his NASCAR winless streak with a victory at Darlington, it lifted a massive weight off his shoulders. That result was no fluke, as Roush Fenway Keselowski has displayed over the last six weeks.

While Keselowski is the only RFK driver with a victory this season, Chris Buescher could easily have a couple of his own. The driver of the No. 17 Ford came up inches short at Kansas in the closest finish in NASCAR history. He appeared to have the win in hand the following week at Darlington, only to be taken out by Tyler Reddick.

Buescher has a pair of runner-up finishes this season, but he and Keselowski have been on fire as of late. In five of the last six races, at least one has finished 1st or 2nd. Brad has four of those five, a feat he has not accomplished since the 2018 season.

It was a brutal start to the year for Keselowski, with a pair of 33rd-place finishes in the Daytona 500 and Atlanta the following week. He rebounded with two top-five results at Phoenix and Bristol and earned his third runner-up finish last weekend in the May 26 race at Charlotte.

Brad earned eight top-five finishes in his first two full seasons at RFK Racing. He has six of those through the first 14 races of this season.

The next two weeks will be telling for this organization, with races at World Wide Technology Raceway (Gateway) and the road course at Sonoma. Neither driver has led a lap or finished inside the top ten at Gateway. Both have led laps at Sonoma, but have average finishing positions of 14.1 (Buescher) and 16.1 (Keselowski). Buescher has done well the last two years at Sonoma, finishing 2nd and 4th.

Regarding total points scored over the last five races, Keselowski has tallied 181 which is second only to fellow team owner Denny Hamlin (185). Before this string of results, Keselowski was 18th in the points standings but is now 9th heading into Gateway.

Ford Dark Horse Mustang Improvement

One of the key storylines this season has been the lack of performance from Ford. The new Dark Horse Mustang body was highly touted in the offseason but failed to deliver results. That changed once Keselowski won the Southern 500 at Darlington – the 13th race of the season.

The team also spent some time testing at Iowa, where the series will race for the first time on June 16.

While RFK Racing has turned things around, other Ford teams have also shown progress. Noah Gragson has been the lone bright spot at Stewart Haas Racing, which announced earlier this week that they will be shutting down at the end of this season.

Front Row Motorsports, who purchased one of the four available charters from SHR this week, has also shown flashes of potential. Single-car speed has not been the issue, as they have excelled in qualifying. Putting together the right race setup has been the challenge.

RFK Racing Charter Expansion

Charters will continue to be a major topic going forward. NASCAR is still trying to determine what the future looks like. Teams will be limited to a maximum of three cars beginning next season. Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing will be grandfathered in with their four.

The opportunity for two-car teams to expand is now. Front Row has already done so, and Trackhouse, Legacy Motor Club, and 23XI Racing are all expected to follow suit. None of those teams are currently Ford programs though, which would seemingly give RFK an advantage when it comes to negotiations with SHR.

Keselowski has always been patient, and it seems he will do the same in this scenario. A third charter might seem like the next step, but he told PRN’s Garage Pass that they are not close. “Certainly we always have our ear to the ground, but I don’t think we have anything that we’re in a position to talk about or that I would consider to be close.”