RFK Racing’s 2023 Winner Heads Into the New Season With Expectations Higher Than Ever

Published 02/09/2024, 4:48 PM EST

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Roush Fenway Keselowski (RFK) Racing can prove to be a dark horse in title contention for the 2024 Cup Series season. They are among the underrated teams in the series, and it is just how they go about their business. It’s been almost two decades since they’ve won a championship, and perhaps Chris Buescher could bring the glory back to the RFK camp. At least, that’s the plan for him going into the season, after this career-best finish last year.

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The 31-year-old was impressive throughout his 2023 season campaign. With three wins, including the Coke Zero 400 event at Daytona, he was consistent across the board. He even went on to make it to the semi-final round of the playoffs but could not make it to the final four. Considering how good Buescher was throughout the regular season, he feels like there is some unfinished business he needs to take care of going into 2024.

Chris Buescher is aiming for more than just a repeat of last season in 2024

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Any team or driver could have been content with a P7 championship finish and three wins across the season, but that’s not Chris Buescher. It took nine years and 293 Cup races for him to reach his career-best season. And going by his words, it was a missed opportunity on his part that he could not propel further into the last season. Speaking to Fox reporter Bob Pockrass in an interview, RFK’s No. 17 laid down his plans for the 2024 Cup Series season.

Stressing on improving from his career-best results from 2023, he said, “Understanding that last year was very difficult and we were able to show that, we are ready for it. We’re capable of doing big things. It will be difficult to repeat, but we don’t want to repeat. We want to be better. So bring on the challenge!

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Buscher has a reason for this show of confidence, and his last year’s statistics are a good place for us to start. He registered 17 top-10 finishes, nine top-fives, and, of course, three wins. Moreover, he had only one DNF all season and made it to the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season back in 2016. It was a big turnaround from his 2022 season, where he had just a single win and a P21 championship finish.

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Going into the next season, he can always feed off the momentum of the last season and progress gradually. However, the 31-year-old is conscious of his shortcomings and is looking to weed them out as early as possible at the start of the season.

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Early wins and momentum a key focus for Buescher in 2024

It was a strong showing by Buescher and his team in the regular season. But when it mattered the most, in the playoffs, they crumbled. The RFK driver could only win two stages in 2023, which always kept him close to that cutline. In comparison, Denny Hamlin won three races and eight stages, whereas regular-season champion Martin Truex Jr won six stages along with his three wins. So there’s a fine margin of balance going into the business end of the season. Now, a strong start will certainly give them the wiggle room to then go all guns blazing in the later stages of the season.

Explaining the roadmap for progress in 2024, Buescher stated, “The big thing for us is trying to take 2023 and use that as our baseline to figure out where to go from there. Make it better, for me is how to make it more successful earlier in the season so we can open up some opportunities and be able to take more risk as we get in that early summer. So that we’re not getting down where we were with some good races but no wins on our table. So I think that’s the biggest takeaway from last year.”

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Watch This Story: Kaulig Racing hilariously crashes Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher’s first paint scheme reveal

RFK has got the momentum in Chris Buescher, a new car in Dark Horse Mustang, and an experienced racing wizard in Brad Keselowski. All things considered, they are in good shape going into the season and could turn out to be worthy contenders for the championship this time around.

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Written by:

Chintan Devgania

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One take at a time

Chintan Mahesh Devgania is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As someone who likes to dive deep into the sport, he often takes up less explored topics to eventually see them make their way into top stories. His report on Toyota’s young recruit, Jade Avedisian, sharing her thoughts on Late Model Racing, was an example of that.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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