The organization led by Jack Roush was a perennial contender for NASCAR Cup Series race wins and championships earlier in its history. Drivers such as Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards were frequently seen at the front of the field and near the top of the standings just over a decade ago. However, the company that was long the standard bearer for Ford Motor Company’s stock racing efforts has over the past few years fallen to the level of a mid-pack runner.
The organization’s last wins came in 2017 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. scored victories at the Talladega Super Speedway and the Daytona International Speedway. And only once, Ryan Newman in 2019, has one of their drivers qualified to participate in the NASCAR Playoffs over the course of the past four seasons.
Now, however, there is new life being breathed into the company as 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski has joined the team as not only a driver but as a part owner as well. The 37-year-old veteran racer brings a new level of accomplishment to the driver’s seat with his 35 career wins that had been missing since the departure of Kenseth, Edwards and Biffle. But he also brings a sense of organization and preparation learned from years of working for Roger Penske’s NASCAR operation.
On Tuesday, the organization formerly known as Roush Fenway Racing that had been co-owned by Jack Roush and Fenway Sports Group owner John Henry officially announced the changing of its name to Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing to include confirmation of the new partner’s ownership stake.
In his remarks during a luncheon hosted by RFK, Keselowski made his intentions for the newly named company clear.
“Today’s announcement is more than a fancy new logo,” Keselowski declared. “It’s an acknowledgment to our heritage, a renewed commitment to our people and a stake in the ground that says we are here to operate top-tier race teams in the sport of NASCAR for decades to come. I’m thrilled to be a part of this next chapter with Jack Roush and John Henry.”
Keselowski not only brings his driving talent to the operation but also adds experience as a leader in the business world. In 2018 the Michigan native started Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing which provides advanced engineering and machining solutions for industries related to aerospace, defense, energy, automotive, and motorsports performance.
RFK has already made moves to strengthen their racing operations. Veteran crew chief Matt McCall, who has previously worked with drivers such as Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray, has been brought onboard. Top notch spotter T.J. Majors who has worked for the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano as well as Keselowski at the end of the 2021 season is now in the fold.
Both of those new team members will work with Keselowski on the RFK flagship No. 6 Ford Mustang.
The No. 17 car has also been bolstered going into the off-season. Scott Graves will lead that team team for driver Chris Buescher in 2022. That duo combined to win the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and were paired together again with five races remaining in the 2021 season, scoring three finishes of 12th or better, including a pair of top-10s and a third-place finish at the Charlotte ROVAL.
Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing will operate as a two-car team in 2022.
Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing. A team I am proud to be a part of not just because of the namesake, but because of the greatness I know this team is ready to achieve. pic.twitter.com/tDAOq80y7q
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) November 16, 2021
RFK president Steve Newmark looks forward the team’s future.
“We are excited about this next chapter in our team’s history,” Newmark remarked. “For our whole team, it has been vitally important to spend time and energy around this process to capture the right message about who we are as we move forward as an organization.”
He believes all of the pieces are in place to assure success.
“The heritage and innovation of Jack Roush, the championship swagger of Fenway Sports Group and the passion for racing of Brad Keselowski are what merges together to create RFK Racing,” Newmark added. “These principles form and drive the fundamentals of our team and the new brand as we lay out the roadmap that will lead us into the future.”
The stars are being aligned to make the Roush organization better than it has been in years. Whether it can ever return to the status it held in the early part of this century remains to be seen but Brad Keselowski is smart enough to know that success in racing is all about the people that make up the organization. And he appears to be surrounding himself with the right people.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
Respond to this piece on Twitter –> @RichardAllenIDR
or on Facebook –> InsideCircleTrack/Facebook