The goal is to qualify for the Championship 4 race in Phoenix – the specific route to achieve this is not significant.
It could be a string of consistently strong finishes, or it could include victories in “must-win” scenarios like Christopher Bell did twice last year.
However, Keselowski views the playoff journey as a matter of “survival,” despite the argument that his sixth and ninth place finishes in the initial two races demonstrate his exceptional performance compared to others.
Keselowski stated that surviving and thriving are not always synonymous. However, in certain cases, surviving can be considered thriving in the playoffs given the current setup. He mentioned having a unique viewpoint on this matter.
“I aim to perform well in every round and progress further. In the end, reaching the Championship 4 is what truly matters, as the previous nine races become insignificant. On the other hand, winning multiple races may not guarantee a spot in the final four, and it may not be regarded as a successful year.”
“I believe that the current setup requires one to constantly persevere. It’s a mindset of survival.”
Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, Castrol Edge Ford Mustang
Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images
With only Saturday night’s race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway remaining in the first round, Keselowski is fifth in the playoff standings and in excellent position to advance, whether he picks up a win this weekend or not.
Nevertheless, he is acutely mindful of the possibility that the advantage he obtained from two impressive performances at the beginning of the 2023 championship battle could vanish just as rapidly as it was acquired.
Keselowski mentioned that when examining these situations, there are numerous chances to take bold actions and improve one’s position. However, these opportunities also involve higher risks, so it is important to constantly assess and analyze the level of risk involved.
“It does become more challenging in real-time situations, but this is also what justifies the high earnings and uniqueness of the drivers. They are constantly engaged in evaluating the risks involved and adapting their driving techniques accordingly.”
“I derive great enjoyment from that.”
The 39-year-old co-owner and driver of RFK Racing also has the added responsibility of doing what he can to ensure his teammate, Chris Buescher, also remains a viable championship contender.
Reaching the next round with both cars.
Currently, both drivers are in a favorable position as they head into Bristol. RFK hopes that both cars will be able to progress to the Round of 12.
Buescher, who has won three races this season, is ninth in the standings, but just 13 points above the transfer line.
Buescher, however, did win this race one year ago, while Keselowski finished 13th but led 109 laps.
Keselowski mentioned that it is favorable for both cars to have a positive point balance rather than a negative one. Additionally, he noted that the No. 6 car has a comfortable lead of around 30 points, which provides a sense of security as long as they avoid any major mishaps during the race.
“The driver in car number 17 currently maintains a lead of around 10 points, possibly 12 or 13 points. While it is better than being in a losing position, it is not as much as we had anticipated. Unfortunately, Chris experienced a tire failure towards the end of the race in Kansas, which significantly disrupted the standings.”
“It was an unfortunate incident, but I have a strong belief that we can have two competitive cars and achieve successful performances this weekend. I am excited to replicate our previous achievements at Bristol from last autumn.”