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RFK Racing searching for sustained success entering 2023 season

Brad Keselowski sees issues each day that make him be ok with the progress of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing.

And he sees issues each day that make him annoyed concerning the progress of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing.

Such is the lifetime of a co-owner of a race group, which Keselowski grew to become after the 2021 season as he left Team Penske to affix Roush Fenway as a co-owner and driver.

Now a 12 months into being a group proprietor, Keselowski is conflicted concerning the measure of progress. 

“I most likely have a few of these emotions day by day at RFK — just a little little bit of a mix,” he stated about feeling good and annoyed on the identical time.

“I feel that’s a wholesome signal that not less than we’re getting someplace and we’ve the drive to do it.”

Keselowski went winless for the primary time since his first full season as a Cup driver in 2010. He indicated he didn’t finish 2022 hoping to start out 2023 as quickly as attainable so he may attempt to get again to victory lane.

“I’m not in a selected rush to get the season began as a result of we’ve numerous actually lively tasks by the winter and fall which might be primarily based off of key learnings of our first 12 months collectively,” he stated.

“And I wish to see these mature.”

Keselowski discusses progress with RFK

Brad Keselowski describes the progress being made at Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing and what goes into the method.

RFK did win a race as Chris Buescher captured the victory at Bristol in an occasion the place Keselowski appeared on his method to victory till he had a tire problem. The victory was the primary for RFK since July 2017 and the primary at a non-superspeedway since June 2014.

Just how totally different would the offseason have been if Buescher had not gained at Bristol?

“I don’t assume it makes a giant distinction on what our emotions are,” Buescher stated. “But I certain wouldn’t give it again and attempt to discover out the opposite approach.”

Buescher admitted the temper would have modified barely going into the offseason with out that trophy.

“That was clearly the spotlight for us,” Buescher stated. “But I might say that we had pace and the chance to win many occasions all through the season at numerous totally different kinds of racetracks.”

Matt McCall, crew chief for Keselowski, agreed.

“There was sufficient indicators of enhancements at another tracks that it was the same momentum and tradition shift that we’re getting again to the place we have to be and wish to be as an organization,” McCall stated.

It is one factor to imagine you may win. It is one other to have gained so as to add that confidence.

That’s what the Bristol victory dropped at the group.

“The general temper, we might have felt very comparable about,” Buescher stated. “But we’ve a trophy to say so, now. We have one thing to take a seat there and stare out and say, ‘Look, it really did work.’”

Buescher shares pleasure on RFK’s upcoming season

Chris Buescher says Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing is in a much better place than it was final 12 months.

Buescher crew chief Scott Graves stated he has completed second in sufficient races that getting that trophy was necessary.

“I do know for me there would most likely be rather less confidence if we didn’t have that,” Graves stated. “But it wasn’t a one-off expertise, both. … There had been numerous races the place we had been within the working, identical with [Keselowski] on the finish of the 12 months.

“Even with out that win, we had been on an upswing of efficiency and really feel like we had a great spot going into this 12 months.”

With neither driver profitable throughout the common season, neither made the playoffs. Buescher completed twenty first within the standings, and Keselowski was twenty fourth.

They each confirmed pace in lots of races late within the 12 months, however the outcomes weren’t all the time there.

“We had a very sturdy fall at RFK,” Keselowski stated. “We began to essentially present some outcomes. We had been capable of mature numerous our investments in our folks and tools.

“And [we] began to use classes from earlier within the season.”

Buescher stated the group is in a significantly better place this 12 months than a 12 months in the past, that it took some time for a brand new group to get a grasp on the brand new Next Gen automotive whereas additionally studying about their new co-workers.

“It took numerous power to get all people in place, get that chemistry rolling,” Buescher stated. “Ultimately, the start of the season, I didn’t assume we had been under-prepared, however we didn’t carry out pretty much as good as we had hoped.

“We have notes now, and we’ve a very good concept of why we missed [it at] a few of these races.”

That was no shock to Buescher. He anticipated the primary third of the season to virtually be a throw-away. 

“We had a very sturdy season,” Buescher stated. “We had hoped for extra. But realistically it was an excellent begin. We’ve simply obtained to maintain going and maintain constructing on it.”

McCall stated it’s onerous to evaluate the progress of the group by evaluating it to the place it anticipated to be a 12 months into the transition. It took RFK longer than different groups to know methods to make pace within the Next Gen automotive.

Keselowski, Buescher discuss Bristol win

Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher describe the affect of Buescher’s win at Bristol as a confidence-builder all through the offseason.

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So to reply the query that Keselowski addressed about if the group is the place it must be after one 12 months, McCall stated it is just about on par.

“I don’t assume we knew beginning the season the place we stacked up,” McCall stated. “The first couple of races, it was going OK, after which it was dismal.

“We nonetheless have numerous time, numerous work to place in to get the place we wish to be.”

Thinking Out Loud

NASCAR knew that there can be some angst from followers simply by listening to the phrase “muffler.” But it additionally is aware of that for the potential of extra stadium races or avenue programs, automobiles must have a muffler system.

Being at the recent testing and listening to the cars with mufflers, I feel most followers will probably be good with the best way they sound.

Not all followers. For some, the louder the automobiles, the higher. And it’s a little softer of a rumble. So for some, it gained’t be ok.

But for nearly all of followers, particularly when there are 36 of those automobiles on the observe, it will likely be loud sufficient for the sound to be a part of what makes followers benefit from the race expertise.

For those that deliver associates to the observe, it may additionally present a possibility for a brief chat or simply won’t be as a lot of a jolt to these new to the racing expertise.

So utilizing the mufflers on the Clash on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday (heats start at 5 p.m. ET on FOX) is an effective factor — so long as they don’t create too scorching of a cockpit. That for certain goes to have to be monitored because it was a difficulty on the take a look at.

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Stat of the Day

The winner of the Clash has gone on to win the championship eight occasions, together with Joey Logano in 2022.

They Said It

“I visited Hendrick Motorsports, and I’ve to say I used to be blown away on the facility. I’ve raced for a few of the greatest Formula 1 groups on this planet, and it nonetheless shocked me how good the ability was, the intrinsic element that goes into every little thing they do throughout the group. I knew they might be creating and producing a incredible automotive for us to race at Le Mans.” —Former F1 champ Jenson Button, who will probably be among the many Hendrick driver lineup at Le Mans this 12 months.

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent many years protecting motorsports, together with the previous 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene journal and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and enroll for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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