By David Morgan, Associate Editor
FORT WORTH, Texas – It’s been quite the week for RFK Racing.
A week after Chris Buescher broke a six-year long winless streak by scoring the win at Bristol a week ago, team co-owner Brad Keselowski kept the party going as the NASCAR Cup Series rolled into Texas Motor Speedway, putting his No. 6 Ford on the pole for Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500.
Keselowski streaked around the 1.5-mile track with a lap of 28.573 seconds (188.990 mph) to take the top spot and then had to play the waiting game as a handful of other cars still had to make their qualifying runs, but by the time all was said and done, he was able to hold off all comers to take his first pole since 2019 at Kansas.
“That was a heckuva lap,” Keselowski said. “I was proud to show my speed and be starting on the front row on pole. This is a tough track to qualify at because the speeds are so high and the track is so slick and hot. We were able to put a lap together.
“Three and four was one of those gutsy laps where you hold it wide open through there and hope it sticks. It was really close but we made it through. That was probably the difference maker. I haven’t gone back and seen all the data but I just committed to running through it wide open and it made it.”
Joey Logano will join Keselowski on the front row, with William Byron starting third, Tyler Reddick in fourth, and Michael McDowell in fifth. The remainder of the top-10 starters for Sunday’s race are Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, and Daniel Suarez.
Since leaving Team Penske at the end of the 2021 season and taking a co-ownership role at Roush Fenway, the 2022 season has been full of trials and tribulations for the former Cup champion as he looks to rebuild RFK back to its former glory.
Through the first 29 races of the season, Keselowski has banked four top-10 finishes, but also has also finished a number of races well outside the top-15 as he currently sits 25th in points. However, in recent weeks, RFK has seemingly flipped a switch and shown up with much better performing cars.
Along with scoring a season-high finish of seventh at Darlington on Labor Day Weekend, Buescher’s win at Bristol and Keselowski’s Texas pole show a team on the rise.
“It is a super exciting time for me and for our company here at RFK with a lot of the progress we have made over the last few months and now it is actually starting to show up,” Keselowski said. “It has been a painful journey, but a good one.
“I am proud of our lap. It didn’t come unearned but we have a long way to go tomorrow for 500 miles here in Texas. Obviously, this is a really tough grueling race. I have led a lot of laps here and been in a position to win this race before but it hasn’t come together. Hopefully, tomorrow will be the day. It is certainly a great spot to start from.”