Keselowski Returns to Victory Lane in Darlington Classic

NKP #6: Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, Castrol Ford Mustang

Brad Keselowski returned to victory lane in dramatic fashion Sunday at Darlington Raceway, earning his first win in the No. 6 car, and first as owner/driver of RFK Racing.

On the other end of the wide range of emotions was teammate Chris Buescher, who led up until nine laps remaining, before the No. 45 car doored him, spoiling the victory for the No. 17 team. He went on to finish 30th in the Fifth Third Bank Ford.

“It’s just so great to be here in Darlington, I love this track, I love coming here,” Keselowski said following the win. “It’s a special place to me whether you win or not, but to run up front all day and have a great car, qualify up front, it was just an awesome day for Castrol.

“I’m glad for Ford. Ford has been working really hard to get us up here and here we are. We got them a win, so they don’t have to hear about that anymore. Hopefully, there are more great things to come. It was a total team effort from the top to the bottom to get us to where we could have a fast car. We executed on pit road, led laps and were there when it counted at the end,” Keselowski added.

“Just getting wiped out,” Buescher said of the finish “For me, we know it was going to be good, hard racing here, but we hit so hard we wheel-hopped into the fence. I don’t get it. 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 with this Fifth Third Bank Mustang, that’s a big shame. On the flip side, I’m stoked for Brad and the 6 bunch and RFK to get a win here. That’s huge, but, right now, selfishly I’m mad for my team and our group. We had a great day there and we didn’t get any finish to show for it.”

6 Recap
Keselowski had one of the stronger cars all weekend, qualifying second in the Castrol throwback scheme, his best starting effort of the season. From there he never left the top-10, as close pit stops on pit road and restarts defined the afternoon.

The No. 6 finished third in stage one and second in stage two, and took the lead for multiple laps for the first time into stage two, when he took over the point from the No. 45 at lap 226, prior to pit sequence. He hit pit road at lap 240 from the lead, and was the leader when the final caution was displayed at lap 254.

He restarted front row for the final green flag with 33 laps remaining, but fell to third as teammate Buescher took the lead up until lap 284. When he and the No. 45 fell off due to the incident, Keselowski took advantage and led the final nine laps en route to his first win at RFK.

  • Keselowski won the first race for the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse.
  • First win as owner/driver with RFK Racing and snapped a 110-race winless streak.
  • 36th win of Keselowski’s Cup Series career, 27th with Ford.
  • First win for the No. 6 car since David Ragan won at Daytona in 2011 (July 2).
  • 142nd Cup win for Jack Roush and fifth under the RFK banner.

17 Recap
Buescher, too, had one of the strongest cars all day and throughout the weekend, qualifying just behind in third. He also earned stage points in both opening segments with P7 results.

He fired off ninth for the final stage, then hit pit road from the same position at lap 230. When the final caution flew at lap 254, Buescher was scored fourth, and restarted third after the race’s final pit stop.

He took the lead on lap 264 and maintained it for 21 laps, and set sail for the finish until just under 10 laps remaining. The No. 45 washed up the track, putting both he and the No. 17 into the wall, ultimately ruining both finishes. Buescher went on to finish 30th.

Up Next
North Wilkesboro Speedway hosts the 2024 All-Star Race next weekend as the star-studded event is set for Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, with radio coverage on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

RFK Racing PR

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