Keselowski thrilled to put winning stamp on his owner/driver era

It took longer than Brad Keselowski wanted, but he finally drove the car he co-owns into victory lane Sunday at Darlington Raceway.

Keselowski’s triumph in the Goodyear 400 was his first since joining forces with Jack Roush in 2022 under the RFK Racing banner. This meant it snapped his winless streak, which dated back to the spring of 2021 (Talladega Superspeedway) when he was still a Team Penske driver. It also put Ford in victory lane for the first time this season.

The former series champion had celebrated as an owner four previous times with Chris Buescher. Ironically, Buescher’s late-race misfortune after contact with Tyler Reddick opened the door for Keselowski to capitalize.


“We were so close for so long,” Keselowski said. “I’m just thrilled that I’m able to put some meaningful pages in this chapter, and I hope there’s a lot more to come.”

Keselowski admitted he wants to leave a mark on the sport. He spent 12 full seasons at Team Penske, where he 35 races and the 2012 championship. He also won an Xfinity Series championship with Penske.

“I’m really proud of the career I’ve had at Penske and always will be,” Keselowski said. “It was a really special place to work with some special people. This is just another chapter, right? It doesn’t replace that chapter. But it’s another chapter where I can look in the mirror and say that I’m leaving some kind of mark on the sport, maybe even some of the people.

“I take as much pride in anything as helping the people and being on teams and seeing the 19, 20-year-old kid that comes in as an intern and watching them learn something. Or seeing the 23-year-old that just graduated college and didn’t make the NFL draft but comes in as a pit crew member and is now going over the wall and has a good job and does a great job. I take as much about that as I do my own success because it feels so good to leave a positive mark on others that way.

“So, it’s just another chapter for me. I don’t know what the next chapter will be. I’m not done with this one. I hope I’ve got a lot more pages to write. It took a little longer than I would have liked to have gotten an official win, although I did win the (Daytona) Duel right there out of the gate but I guess that does count.”

The journey to victory lane, which took the last three seasons of taking big risks and hoping they pay off, has been special. Keselowski has always done things his way, and has no plans to stop.

And in speaking about risks, Keselowski has read the headlines and heard from fans about “throwing your career away.” There were times when he thought that chatter might have been right.

“But then, on the flipside, I was looking at the sport and just thinking to myself that if I dig deep here, I can get this thing where it needs to be,” Keselowski said. “There’s been a lot of deep digging moments. That’s been part of the journey. They’re not all fun. In fact, a lot of them aren’t fun. But it’s part of the journey.

“I sleep well at night with that decision. I was OK if it failed. I had a lot of people that poked at me when [Austin] Cindric won the (Daytona) 500. I had a lot of people poking at me, ‘Oh that could have been you in that car.’ Same thing when Joey [Logano] and [Ryan] Blaney won the championship last year and the year before and you know what, they’re right. But I’m not upset about that. I’m happy for those guys.”

Keselowski said he still has meaningful relationships with the Team Penske drivers and is happy for their success. But the 40-year-old Keselowski is in a different place and that finally paid off with a victory.

“I’ve learned so much over the last three years about people and culture and organizations and the technical aspects of what it takes to build a race team that can win,” Keselowski said. “And that’s the action I crave, always craved, is being a part of that journey. I have that and that makes winning so much more special and more impactful to me personally.”

Story originally appeared on Racer