“This is just another chapter” after first win with RFK

Sportem
Sportem
5 Min Read

In the nearly three seasons since Keselowski joined Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing as a part-owner and full-time driver, the organization has undergone vast changes evident in everything from facility upgrades to performance on the track.

What was still lacking, however, was a win by Keselowski, not just as part of the RFK organization, but his most recent Cup Series victory came 110 races ago, in April 2021 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway when he was still driving for team owner Roger Penske.

Keselowski had been able to witness firsthand the return to competitiveness of the Roush organization but was still missing out on his own Victory Lane celebration.

No longer.

After Keselowski’s teammate, Chris Buescher, and Tyler Reddick collided racing for the lead with nine of 293 laps remaining Sunday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Keselowski – then running third – inherited the lead when Reddick and Buescher were both eventually forced to pit with flat tires.

Watch: Brad Keselowski wins Goodyear 400 at Darlington to end winless streak

Keselowski then deftly held off upstart Ty Gibbs to clinch his first win in the No. 6 Ford and RFK Racing’s first victory at the iconic Darlington track since 2006.

“It’s been a heck of a ride. So much has changed over the last three years from when I walked in the door, and I see just a group that keeps getting stronger,” Keselowski said. “It’s tough because I feel like there’s been a lot of two-step forwards, one step back, and you keep doing those and you keep doing those.

“Everybody kind of looks at it like, ‘We just took these two steps forward, why are we taking another step back,’ and it leads to the next gain. We took a pretty big step back over the off-season. It was with a lot of intentionality in a couple critical categories.

“We paid for that dearly to start the year and kind of lost some performance. But it was in the name of being able to do this right here: Win races honest and be competitive, and the two steps forward are just now being realized.”

The rise of Roush

Prior to Keselowski’s arrival at RFK, team owner Jack Roush had a rich history in NASCAR competition with multiple championships across all three NASCAR national series – Cup, Xfinity and Trucks – and had amassed 325 wins.

However, the organization fell on hard times and its most recent championship came in 2015 (Buescher in Xfinity) and before Buescher’s win in the 2022 season, its most recent Cup win came in 2017 (with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.).

Now, the organization has two full-time teams capable of winning any weekend and is on track to have both drivers in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

While the victory on Sunday was important in many ways for Keselowski and RFK, make no mistake, the ride is far from over.

“I think no matter what you do in life, you want to leave a mark, some in other ways than others. I’m really proud of the career I’ve had at Penske and always will be. It was a really special place to work with some special people,” Keselowski said.

“This is just another chapter, right? It doesn’t replace that chapter. But it’s another chapter where I can look in the mirror and say that I’m leaving some kind of mark on the sport, maybe even some of the people.”

Keselowski said he takes as much pride in seeing young people enter the sport and helping them achieve success as he does his own.

“So, it’s just another chapter for me. I don’t know what the next chapter will be. I’m not done with this one. I hope I’ve got a lot more pages to write,” he said.

“Took a little longer than I would have liked to have gotten an official win, although I did win the (Daytona) Duel right there right out of the gate, but I guess that doesn’t count, does it.

“I’m just thrilled that I’m able to put some meaningful pages in this chapter, and I hope there’s a lot more to come.”

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