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Countdown to Daytona - 46 Days

(Cover Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By Adam Carabine

In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.

23rd Place – Brad Keselowski – 670 pts


100 Point Penalty after the Spring Atlanta Race – In his first year with a new team (of which he is now part owner), Brad Keselowski got off to a rough start. In just the 5th race of the season, Keselowski’s No. 6 Ford was found to be in violation of the rules. It would appear that the rear fascia did not meet the original specifications set out by the rule book, meaning that RFK Racing in some way altered the part. The gaffe cost Keselowski 100 driver and owner points, as well as 10 playoff points.

770 Points (Without the Penalty) – It’s hard to determine whether the penalty set a completely different set of circumstances in motion within the No. 6 team. Keselowski may have pushed for wins, rather than being okay with earning plenty of points, as the penalty would have made pointing his way into the playoffs much more difficult. Regardless, even the 770 points he could have had without the penalty did not place him in the Top 16, meaning it was likely he still would have missed the playoffs.

18.28 Average Finish in 2022 – It wasn’t Brad Keselowski’s best year, though it wasn’t quite as bad as his worst, either. His first full-time Cup Season (2010) featured a career-worst 22.36. 2022 was his second-worst year as far as Average Finish goes, but Keselowski also knew that things were going to be tough this year. In leaving the juggernaut that is Team Penske (featuring 2022 champion Joey Logano), Keselowski was moving to a team with lesser equipment. The goal for Keselowski was not to come and compete for championships immediately. His goal was to build a solid program up, to hopefully compete in the not-too-distant future.

224 Laps Led in 2022 – Not to get too doom and gloom on ol’ Brad, there were definitely some bright spots in his 2022 season! His 224 laps led put him in the Top 15 of that category, and he was still able to threaten for the lead in multiple races. The cars at RFK may not have had the speed he was used to at Penske, but at the end of the day, Keselowski’s a veteran with a lot of experience. And as he turns 39 (just before the Daytona 500), he’s definitely still got some gas in the tank!

139 Career Top 5s – Keselowski having earned 139 Top 5s puts him in the Top 30 in that category. And with drivers ahead of him on this list having been long-retired, there’s a real chance he could make his way into the Top 25 before his career is through (as a driver, at least). It’s clear that Brad is setting himself up for retirement to transition to a full-time owner with RFK, but it’s hard to imagine that he’s close to getting ready for it yet.

As mentioned, since Brad Keselowski is part owner of the RFK Racing team, of course he will return again next year (and for the foreseeable future) in the No. 6 Ford. Teammate Chris Buescher also will return with him as they continue to keep growing the team, hoping to recapture some of the glory days of Roush Racing past!

Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – Justin Haley!

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