Wednesday, 21 February 2024

 

Part three of my reflections on the year that was, and what’s to come in 2024, for Cup series teams:

RFK Racing 
Results: Chris Buescher (7th in points); Brad Keselowski (8th in points)
Grade: A-

Talk about overachieving: RFK Racing was the breakout Cup team of 2023. RFK Racing co-owner/driver Brad Keselowski had long hyped up his teammate Chris Buescher’s talent, but that was backed up when Buescher shocked everyone by rattling off three wins this summer. 

Meanwhile, Keslowski consistently ran up front all year, and took home 7 top-5 finishes. He could easily return to victory lane next season. The fact that both these drivers finished in the top 8 in points is extremely impressive for a team still aiming to rebuild back to the levels of success once enjoyed in the former glory days of Roush Racing. 

Look for Buescher and Keselowski to remain contenders in 2024 in the newly unveiled Mustang Dark Horse. 

Published in NASCAR

Saturday’s race at Daytona was an exciting conclusion to a season where we’ve seen everything under the sun, as we finished our second regular season with the Next Gen car.

The three-wide racing for much of the night was downright thrilling and the best of what plate racing has to offer. On the flip side, no pun intended, Ryan Preece went on a terrifying ride when he barrel rolled at least a dozen times before finally landing right-side up. Thankfully he did not sustain any serious injuries, nor did any of the drivers involved in a “big one” at the end of the second stage.

While the extreme tumbling is cause for investigation by NASCAR (and they are examining the Preece car for data on why that happened), the fact that Preece could walk away shows that the Next Gen car has the goods to keep drivers safe even in extreme wreck situations like the one Preece experienced on Saturday.

The big news, of course was Bubba Wallace’s strong run that locked him into the final playoffs spot. Making the playoffs is a big burden off Bubba’s shoulders. And now he just has to perform and try to get as far along in the playoffs as possible. This will be a tough task to execute, with so many strong drivers ahead of him. But if he makes it to at least the round of 12, I would consider that a successful year and a launch pad for further playoff marches in the future.

Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman both missed the playoffs, and it’s been a rough year for Hendrick, which has only 2 cars in the playoffs. William Byron and Kyle Larson qualified and should both be contenders. But to put that in perspective, the Hendrick team only qualified as many cars as RFK Racing and 23XI racing, and one less than Joe Gibbs Racing.

Published in NASCAR

BROOKLYN, Mich. — It’s hard to imagine for fans who are new to the sport in recent years, but the team formerly known as Roush Racing (and later Roush Fenway Racing) was once among the most dominant teams in the sport.

Started by Jack Roush in the late 1980s, it rose to power with Mark Martin as its lead driver, then a stable of strong teammates were added that made it an annual championship contender — including Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch (2004 Champion), Matt Kenseth (2003 Champion), and Greg Biffle.

Michigan Speedway was unofficially known as the House of Roush, with the team almost always guaranteed to have the horsepower and driving talent to compete for the race win in Brooklyn. Heading into this weekend, they had a total of 13 wins at the two-mile oval.

And after watching Chris Buescher — driver of the No. 17 car for the newly renamed RFK Racing — win a thrilling battle against Martin Truex. Jr. Monday to claim his second straight Cup series victory (and the RFK camp’s 14th win at the track), it’s safe to say the team has definitely got its groove back and is reinvigorated by the arrival of Rochester Hills, Michigan, native Brad Keselowski as a co-owner last year.

Published in NASCAR

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