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December 20, 2023

Brad Keselowski 2023 season in review

Brad Keselowski walks across the stage and high-fives fans before a NASCAR Cup Series race.
Sean Gardner
Getty Images

Editor’s note: This continues a series where we review the top 20 drivers in 2023 NASCAR Cup Series points.

Season in review: Brad Keselowski
No. 6 Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing Ford
Crew chief: Matt McCall
Final 2023 Ranking: 8th
Key stats: 0 wins, 7 top fives, 16 top 10s, 341 laps led

How 2023 ended: The 2023 season was much improved over Keselowski’s first season as a driver and co-owner in 2022, which saw him amass just one top-five finish. The most significant achievement for Keselowski in 2023 was qualifying ninth for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and advancing to the Round of 12.

RELATED: 2023 season review hub page

Best race: Keselowski’s best overall performance was the spring race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he qualified fourth and finished runner-up, leading 47 of the event’s 260 laps. One other race of note was the July race at Richmond Raceway, where he finished sixth but led a season-high 102 laps.

Other season highlights: Having led 42 laps, Keselowski was en route to a potential top-five finish — if not a win — in the season-opening Daytona 500 before he was involved in a last-lap, multicar wreck that saw him finish 22nd. In a return visit to Daytona in the final playoff-qualifying race, Keselowski finished second behind teammate Chris Buescher in the best 1-2 performance by RFK Racing since Keselowski joined the team. The best overall performance stretch was from Atlanta in July to Texas Motor Speedway in September, which saw Keselowski tally three top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 12 races.

Stat to know: Keselowski’s last win as a driver was in 2021 while still racing for Team Penske. However, as a part-team owner since 2022, Keselowski has seen RFK Racing teammate Chris Buescher reach Victory Lane once in 2022 and three times in 2023.

MORE: Keselowski joins elite list of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers | Keselowski through the years

Quotable: “Surviving and thriving may not always be the same. But, sometimes, surviving is thriving in the playoffs with the way these things are set up. I guess I have a different perspective on it. I want to get through each round the best we can and then move on. Ultimately, if you get to the Championship 4, nobody else cares about the nine races before that. Conversely, you can win two or three races and not make the final four and it still not be considered a good year. I think the way that this thing is set up, you have to just continuously survive. It’s a survivorship mentality.” — Keselowski on the difference between “surviving” and “thriving” in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

Looking ahead: Given the significant improvement RFK Racing showed in 2024, it would not be a surprise to see both drivers — including Keselowski — make the Championship 4. Momentum is certainly there for the driver-owner following a 2023 rebound. Perhaps the 2012 Cup Series champion in Keselowski can make a case for title No. 2.