Darlington Dandies Keselowski, Ford Snap NASCAR Cup Winless Streaks

nascar cup series goodyear 400
Keselowski, Ford Snap NASCAR Cup Winless StreaksJames Gilbert - Getty Images
  • Brad Keselowski became the NASCAR Cup Series team driver-owner since 2016 to win for the team he co-owns.

  • In 2016, Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, won at Sonoma.

  • Sunday’s victory for the 40-year-old Keselowski was his first since he became co-owner of RFK Racing in 2022.

Twice this season Brad Keselowski has faced frustration with runner-up finishes, but that exasperation ended in Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway as he snapped a 110-race winless streak to give the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse its first victory this season.

Keselowski’s 36th career victory and second at the 1.366-mile track marked the first time since 2016 that a driver has won for the team he co-owns. In 2016, it was Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, at Sonoma. Sunday’s victory for the 40-year-old Keselowski was his first since he became co-owner of RFK Racing in 2022.


“What a heck of day!” Keselowski said. “That battle at the end with my teammate (Chris Buescher), Tyler Reddick, we just laid it all out on the line. It was freaking awesome! Pretty epic day!”

nascar cup series goodyear 400
Mother’s Day was also one for father and race winner Brad Keselowski on Sunday at Darlington.James Gilbert - Getty Images

Keselowski led Ford’s performance in the 400-mile race that tied Ford’s best performance this season with the Mustang Dark Horse claiming half of the top 10. The only other race this season in which Ford has had five of the top-10 finishers was at Phoenix in March. Josh Berry placed third for his best performance this season, while Chase Briscoe took fifth, Justin Haley ninth and Michael McDowell 10th.

It was the first victory for the No. 6 Ford since David Ragan won at Daytona on July 2, 2011. Ford’s 729th victory in the NASCAR Cup Series was the 142nd triumph for car owner Jack Roush and the fifth under the RFK Racing banner.

Keselowski, who qualified second, ran in the top three throughout the 293-lap race except during a green-flag stop rotation. However, he often found himself second to top lap leader Tyler Reddick on restarts following a caution flag because Reddick had the first pit due to winning the pole.

nascar cup series goodyear 400
Future Hall of Famer Brad Keselowski won for the 36th time in NASCAR Cup.James Gilbert - Getty Images

When the race restarted on lap 261 following the sixth and final caution flag, Reddick was leading, Keselowski second and Buescher third. Reddick, who led four times for 174 laps, took the outside, while Keselowski moved to the inside. When the green flag waved, Keselowski stayed side-by-by side with Reddick. With 31 laps remaining, Buescher charged into the back of Keselowski, trying to push him ahead of Reddick. It didn’t work.

Buescher decided to make his move with 29 laps remaining while Keselowski and Reddick were still side-by-side. The Texas driver shot his Ford onto the frontstretch apron and passed both of them to grab the lead heading into the first turn.

“I thought he was just going to drive away,” Keselowski said about Buescher. “He maybe did for a lap or two. Then Tyler and I started running him back down, and it was like, ‘Oh, no, he’s not going to just run away.’ I honestly thought Tyler was going to pass him and win the race. I was like, ‘Dangit!’”

With 10 laps remaining Buescher led Reddick by 0.274 second and Keselowski was third. Reddick tried passing Buescher with a slide job, but instead Buescher brushed the wall and Reddick collided with him.

“When they hit together and they both kind of slid up in the wall or maybe the 45 (Reddick) didn’t slide up in the wall, but smoke was coming everywhere,” said Keselowski, who assumed the lead for good with nine laps remaining. “I saw that happen and I was thinking, ‘I’m going to try to get both of them’ and I didn’t get either of them. I’m thinking, ‘Oh, no! That was my shot!’

“Then Tyler had a flat tire and then straight away Chris had a flat tire. Then I was just looking at my mirror thinking, ‘I hope nobody else comes and runs me down.’”

An angry Buescher confronted Reddick on pit road after the race.

“I don’t get it,” Buescher said after walking away. “We’ve been able to race respectfully for our careers. I try and do that week-in and week-out and it’s not getting us anywhere right now. To just get wiped out like that … that’s a big shame. We had clean racing all day long and to get flat-out fenced like that there’s no excuse. It’s a poor decision and an immature move. I just don’t get it.”

Despite Buescher shoving Reddick when he first walked up to him, the 23XI Racing driver remained calm and took responsibility for the incident.

“Everything he said was accurate to be honest,” Reddick said about his conversation with Buescher following the race. “He raced me respectfully, and I got really aggressive.

“I completely understand where he is coming from. He was running the top, running his own race, running his own line to keep me at bay. I made a really aggressive move and was hoping I was going to clear him. When I realized, I wasn’t going to, I tried to check up to not slide up into him. I wish I wouldn’t have done that. I completely understand why he is that mad.”

Gibbs Couldn’t Catch Keselowski

With five laps remaining in Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway, eventual winner Brad Keselowski possessed a 1.102-second lead over Ty Gibbs, and it was a gap the Joe Gibbs Racing driver couldn’t close. Still, Gibbs posted his best finish this season – second -- 1.214 seconds behind Keselowski.

“I feel like I need to get better at passing and driving in dirty air,” Gibbs said. “That is where I feel like I lacked today.”

NASCAR Cup Goodyear 400

Darlington Raceway

1. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 293.

2. (4) Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 293.

3. (33) Josh Berry #, Ford, 293.

4. (7) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 293.

5. (13) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 293.

6. (5) William Byron, Chevrolet, 293.

7. (8) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 293.

8. (18) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 293.

9. (28) Justin Haley, Ford, 293.

10. (16) Michael McDowell, Ford, 293.

11. (9) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 293.

12. (31) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 293.

13. (12) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 293.

14. (36) Noah Gragson, Ford, 293.

15. (15) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 293.

16. (24) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 293.

17. (26) Ryan Preece, Ford, 293.

18. (34) Kaz Grala #, Ford, 293.

19. (30) Erik Jones, Toyota, 293.

20. (25) Austin Cindric, Ford, 293.

21. (14) Joey Logano, Ford, 293.

22. (35) Harrison Burton, Ford, 293.

23. (20) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 293.

24. (19) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 293.

25. (10) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 293.

26. (21) Carson Hocevar #, Chevrolet, 293.

27. (11) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 293.

28. (23) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 293.

29. (32) Derek Kraus, Chevrolet, 292.

30. (3) Chris Buescher, Ford, 291.

31. (22) John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 291.

32. (1) Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 291.

33. (29) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 290.

34. (6) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 252.

35. (27) Zane Smith #, Chevrolet, Accident, 161.

36. (17) Ryan Blaney, Ford, DVP, 129.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 124.75 mph.

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 12 Mins, 30 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.214 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 6 for 38 laps.

Lead Changes: 16 among 10 drivers.

Lap Leaders: T. Reddick 1-37;B. Wallace 38-43;R. Blaney 44;T. Gibbs 45-78;K. Larson 79-93;B. Keselowski 94;T. Reddick 95-225;B. Keselowski 226-237;W. Byron 238-239;D. Hamlin 240;C. Hocevar # 241-242;B. Keselowski 243-256;T. Reddick 257-261;B. Keselowski 262;T. Reddick 263;C. Buescher 264-284;B. Keselowski 285-293.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Tyler Reddick 4 times for 174 laps; Brad Keselowski 5 times for 37 laps; Ty Gibbs 1 time for 34 laps; Chris Buescher 1 time for 21 laps; Kyle Larson 1 time for 15 laps; Bubba Wallace 1 time for 6 laps; William Byron 1 time for 2 laps; Carson Hocevar # 1 time for 2 laps; Denny Hamlin 1 time for 1 lap; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 5,54,6,45,19,38,17,12,24,23

Stage #2 Top Ten: 45,6,54,22,5,24,17,11,23,1