Brad Keselowski and Chris Boecher at Bristol Motor Speedway. (HHP/Chris Owens)
The past seven days have been a “whirlwind” for Brad Keselowski and the rest of the people who have called RFK Racing their home.
It all started with Chris Bucher winning the team’s first NASCAR Cup Series race in five years at the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. After celebrating at the team’s headquarters in Concord, North Carolina, they then took part in two days of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Then came Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. Kiselovsky scored his first cup pole since 2019, and in the process RFK Racing earned their first season since 2013 with multiple poles.
“It’s a very exciting time for me and our company here at RFK with a lot of progress we’ve made over the past few months and now it’s really starting to show. There are a lot of things going on in all directions personally and professionally with this business,” Kiselovsky said after winning the 18th title. And my other work and with our organization. Everything is wide open in every direction. Sometimes it’s hard to stop and think about how privileged and blessed I am in this position, but the time is right nonetheless.”
There are plenty of stats to recount that show RFK Racing is heading uphill in a big way in 2022 for the first time in nearly a decade.
Team W, W photo 📸 pic.twitter.com/0Vk3SNlV5M
– RFK Racing (RFKracing) September 19, 2022
But the last person to ask about that progress is Keselowski, who left seven races in his first season as owner/driver with the team founded by Jack Roche.
“I live in my own bubbles, so I’m not sure if it’s fair for me to answer that question (about the team going through a tipping point),” Kiselovsky said. “I think that’s a question that answers better from outside of my bubbles. It’s definitely a lot of progress. At the media center last week in Bristol, I think I tried to at least make it clear that you do things in the sport and that it takes six to 12 months to get there. . This is the reality.
“Anything you do in this sport in a week or two is probably illegal. The majority of the things that come together take months and months of behind-the-scenes work to come together. In that sense, it’s very painful. It really hurts. You do things and you don’t get a result and everyone else. It challenges and questions the decisions that have been made and you have to kind of keep going.”
The team continued on its path as neither car won the regular season, missing the playoffs and after a 100-point and $100,000 penalty against Keselowski’s #6 team for a breach at the L2 level after the spring race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Keselowski himself has just four top ten spots so far, his lowest since 2010 when he had two in his first full-time season with Penske.
Kiselovsky said that most of his first year in his new role was about the conflicting relationship between wearing a driver’s hat and an owner’s hat.
“They look at each other and say, ‘It’s not good enough.’ The driver side wants the cars to be better and the car owner says that to get the finishing touch you can get it with the equipment you have,” Keselowski said. Both sides. Maybe you fell victim to too much pressure and not having the equipment we needed at the beginning of the year and not always getting the finishes we needed going forward.
“It was a huge need to run 15-20 because we have cars in 25th position and that’s what we have. I probably fell victim to trying to get rid of them too much and make our days worse than they should be but also push them in a way that makes it very clear what the limits are with our cars and their performance and what We need to do to improve it. On the owner side, I think our people are maturing and our operations are maturing. We’ve added some great resources in multiple areas. There are a lot of pieces coming together for sure.”
Keselowski says he’s not a good person to ask about RFK’s progress. But if anyone can attest to how far the team has come, it’s Chris Boecher of Texas.
The 29-year-old Buescher is a 250 NASCAR Cup racing veteran and was originally signed as a Roush development driver in 2009. Despite his stints with Front Row Motorsports and JTG Daugherty Racing, Buescher has an intimate knowledge of RFK Racing history over the past decade , Decade.
Buescher’s victory in Bristol, his second cup win, broke a straight streak of 222 races (Pocono 2016). But that win came with Front Row Motorsports. Bristol had its first victory with RFK Racing since its 2015 Xfinity Series Championship campaign.
“It’s been a long time and it’s been really cool because everyone at RFK has had some difficulties over the years and I was there during the prime and through the absolute highs and I saw the lows along the way too to come back to that corner and get back to where we fight for victories again,” Boescher said. And being able to make some gains is really special to me and everyone else in the company.
“I have many friends within the organization that I have known almost all of my time I was in North Carolina and that is something that means a little bit more when you see these guys and girls who have really put in so much effort during this amount of time to be able to see some progress. Brad is our sport champion and won and no I even know the number of races. I think it’s really special to start, but we are not finished. This is not our peak. We have a lot of potential going forward and we will stay after that.
“We might as well go back to my home path and continue to work here, right?”