Brad Keselowski Clouded by RFK’s Success Shot Himself in the Foot at Talladega Making Things Worse

Published 10/04/2023, 11:54 AM EDT

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Brad Keselowski as a driver has always been a strong force to be reckoned with over the last two decades. But ever since he became a co-owner at the garages of Roush Fenway Racing, he has been a greater threat still. Jumpstarting the team’s heart from the rut that it was in, the No. 6 Ford Mustang’s driver has refuelled it and put it back in contention for the Cup Series championship. Though the driver himself has not won any races so far this season, he has played a huge role in the successes of his teammate Chris Buescher.

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Currently racing in the 2023 season’s round of 12, both the drivers are yet to fix their seats in the round of 8. The latest of their chances came at the Talladega Superspeedway last weekend and Keselowski missed a glorious shot at the win.

The very prowess of RFK Racing’s Fords turns villain for the No. 6 team at Talladega

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Manufacturer Ford has not been having one of its best years in NASCAR this time. Two of its top teams, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske, have let it down continually as only one driver from the outfits, Ryan Blaney, is in contention for the title. Where the carmaker has found some solace, is in the performances of its drivers from the RFK Racing garage. Going to Talladega, expectations were that the Buescher-Keselowski duo would once again reflect on their skills to give their team and manufacturer a reason to rejoice. But the day slipped from them as Keselowski caused an unexpected wreck involving Carson Hocevar.

Racing towards the end of stage 3, the driver sat at the 20th spot and was doing everything in his power to push past the rest when he pushed the young driver Carson Hocevar, a little too hard. As the 20-year-old’s Chevy spun and caused a wreck, Keselowski was forced to retire his car from the impact. Talking about the incident on his YouTube channel, Eric Estepp noted a possible miscalculation on Keselowski’s part. He said, “Keselowski admitted that he was pushing hard in a risky spot on the racetrack. (…) Keselowski is back at around the 20th feeling a little desperate. But you have to be aware of your surroundings. Sometimes I think Brad Keselowski thinks everyone on track has a car handling as well as he does. The RFK cars can push and they can take a push. Most cars in the field are never as fast as the RFK Fords at this style of racetrack.”

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The question of whether it was in fact the RFK Racing Ford’s overpowered nature that caused the wreck coming up, another observation about Keselowski’s past brought that thought back to neutral.

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Not the first time Keselowski’s habit of being aggressive at the wrong time has cost him

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Following Keselowski’s hit, Hocevar spun out and took RCR driver Austin Dillon and JGR’s Ty Gibbs along with him. Keselowski’s Mustang subsequently slid inward and went airborne for a second before landing back on the track. The mistake that the driver made cost him the chance to become the 2nd, single most successful driver at Talladega after Dale Earnhardt. He also could’ve ended his winless streak, but the day just wasn’t to be his. Talking about the incident further on his channel, Estepp made one other observation. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time that the 2012 Cup Series champion pushed out a rookie and caused a wreck.

Estepp noted, “Keselowski, you know he got in trouble for this two years ago at Daytona. Remember he spun, rookie-at-the-time Harrison Burton and the always somewhat squirrely Ricky Stenhouse in the 500. Same thing there. Pushed him a little aggressively maybe when he shouldn’t be.” The chain of events ended Keselowski’s day after his car’s toe link couldn’t be fixed. Though he collected 10 stage points and a playoff point, he was left in the imagination of what could have been. Talking about it post-race, Keselowski said, “It was just one of those Talladega pushing and shoving deals. I just gave a really light push to the 42 car and it turned around on him, so unfortunate for us. (…) It sucks for everybody. I hate it for him. I hate it for us, but it is what it is.”

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With the No. 6 team not finishing the race, Chris Buescher did not fare much better either. The 30-year-old ended his run at P19 and left work to be done in the garages of both the Mustangs. The drivers will get one final opportunity to retain their seats, at the Charlotte over the coming weekend. We will have to wait to see if they can make the best use of their fast Fords at the Roval!

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Written by:

Gowtham Ramalingam

365Articles

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Gowtham Ramalingam is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. His love for motorsports stems from his fascination with Formula 1. Possessing an obsession for anything with an engine, the roads eventually led him to the raw grounds of NASCAR and he has been an avid fan of the sport ever since.
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Edited by:

Anuj Jacob

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