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Keselowski Pushes Buescher to Daytona Win, RFK Racing 1-2 Finish


(Photo: Christopher Vargas | The Podium Finish)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — In an exciting end to the Coke Zero Sugar 400, Brad Keselowski came one spot short of victory lane as he pushed his teammate, Chris Buescher, to the checkered flag, giving RFK Racing a 1-2 finish.

While Keselowski, a co-owner of RFK, was pleased that one of his cars brought home the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway, he couldn’t help but be disappointed in his finish.

“Of course, I wanted to be the one on the front of that. Proud nonetheless of Chris and his efforts and both teams, where they’ve grown and come together,” Keselowski said. “Doing all the right things to grow us and to just take us to that next level. [Saturday] was just another kind of feather in our cap. We’re really proud.”

The weekend started with Keselowski in his No. 6 car qualifying 12th right behind the No. 17 car of Beuscher in the 11th spot. However, the end of the first stage saw Keselowski mired back in the 31st position. Keselowski managed to drive through the carnage behind him to win Stage 2 after a crash on the last lap. 

During the red flag that came out during Lap 97, while cars were stopped, Keselowski didn’t stop driving. He started turning in a circle down the backstretch as radios lit up with comments from other teams. Recounting the humorous moment, he explained what happened. 

“I was sitting there under red flag, it just started smoking really big out of the left front rocker panel. I knew that meant it was about to catch fire and I was going to get knocked out of the race,” Keselowski said. “The only way to stop that was to get air moving through the car. Being under red flag, I had to improvise. I knew I couldn’t drive around the racetrack without getting in serious trouble. I just ran on that pad until the flames and the smoke disappeared and called it good.”

Brad Keselowski works his way through driver introductions at Daytona. (Photo: Cornnell Chu | The Podium Finish)

After a caution for a wild Ryan Preece crash on Lap 156, Keselowski was able to line up behind Buescher for NASCAR Overtime. Despite dropping down to try to possibly pass his teammate, Keselowski pulled back behind to continue to push Buescher to the finish.

Finishing 1-2 was a goal Keselowski had since he purchased an ownership stake last season. It was the first time since 2014 at Bristol Motor Speedway with Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. that RFK finished in the top two spots. 

“Just a really great day for RFK. A few weeks we were sitting down, kind of going over the goal and visions, what we value.” Keselowski said. “One of the things we brought up was 1-2 finishes. It’s been a long time since this company has had 1-2 finishes.” 

While Keselowski is looking ahead not only as a driver but now as an owner, he took a moment at the end of the night to reflect on the accomplishment.

“It’s hard to measure all the things that a night like tonight will do for us as a company, but I’m sure they’re all going to be positive. We’re building something that’s going to be special for a long time. That’s a big goal of mine.” Keselowski stated. “The bigger picture is to have a sustainable race team that can win championships for years to come, be a perennial championship contender. 1-2 finishes are huge for teams. This was certainly another case of that for us.”




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