Brad Keselowski goes winless but more focused on building RFK Racing


AVONDALE, Ariz. – As Joey Logano headed for his second Cup championship Sunday, the driver who paved the way for Logano’s arrival at Team Penske saw his season go up in smoke. Literally.

A fire ended Brad Keselowski’s race at Phoenix Raceway, leaving him with a 35th-place finish and completing his first winless Cup season since 2010.

This year was going to be a challenge for Keselowski after he left Team Penske — where he won a Cup title, 34 races and convinced team owner Roger Penske to hire Logano in 2013 — to become an owner/driver of RFK Racing this season. 

Only 14 drivers in NASCAR history have had more consecutive seasons with at least one win than Keselowski’s 11, but the former champion said the day before the season finale that the end of the streak would not be devastating. He had other priorities.

“If I’m able to do what I want with this company — and we’re on the track to do it — it’s not going to mean a damn thing to me,” Keselowski said of the streak. “Part of the risk of taking the opportunity and making the move I did is giving up some of those stats, which feel good in the moment, but 10-20 years from now, I’m not going to remember or care about those things. 

“What I’ll remember and care about is whether I was able to take this company where it was a year ago to where I want it to be in the next year or so. That’s what is going to matter.”

While Keselowski didn’t win, teammate Chris Buescher did, giving the organization its first Cup victory since 2017. Buescher had a career-high 10 top-10 finishes, including his win at Bristol in the playoffs, but also failed to finish six races. Keselowski had six top 10s and failed to finish three races. 

Neither driver finished in the top 20 in points. Buescher was 21st and Keselowski was 24th. 

Keselowski was penalized 100 points in March after Atlanta for modification to a single-sourced piece and was disqualified after last month’s Martinsville race because his car was below minimum weight. The disqualification cost him 41 points. Without those two penalties, Keselowski would have finished 19th in the driver standings. 

“I definitely didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted to, but looking realistically at the challenge, probably somewhat on schedule,” Keselowski said. 

“I think we’ve got a lot of things coming over the offseason. … We’ve got a lot of things we’re doing to progress that have come over the last 6-12 months of understanding where the company is at and making the moves accordingly to get both race teams where they can compete for wins.”

Keselowski said his first year as a Cup owner has been one of much work.

“It is what it should be. Hard,” he said. “And I appreciate that challenge.”

Keselowski was asked to compare the challenges of owning a truck team, which did from 2008-17 to a Cup operation.

“It’s similar (to truck team challenges), it’s just every check has another zero on it,” he said. “Things that cost 50 grand, cost 500 grand, things that cost 500 grand cost 5 million. 

“More expensive is the biggest thing but all the same values and principles hold true of how you treat your people. How you develop your car. How your interact on a daily basis with company, team, sponsors and all the stakeholders. So the fundamentals are all the same just a little more expensive and a little more competition.”

Texas Truck race results: Carson Hocevar scores first series win

Texas Truck race results
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Carson Hocevar was in front after the leaders crashed in overtime and scored his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

MORE: Texas Truck race results

Rookie Nick Sanchez, who led 168 of the 172-lap race, dueled reigning series champion Zane Smith on the last lap when Sanchez’s truck hit Smith’s. As Sanchez tried to regain control of his vehicle, he was hit from behind by Hocevar. That contact sent Sanchez into Smith. Christian Eckes also was collected.

Hocevar’s first win came in his 59th series start.

Chase Purdy placed second. Stewart Friesen finished third. Ty Majeski was fourth. Jake Garcia completed the top five.


Richmond Xfinity results, driver points


RICHMOND, Va. — Chandler Smith won a stage, led a race-high 83 laps and rallied late to score his first career Xfinity win Saturday at Richmond Raceway.

MORE: Richmond Xfinity results

MORE: Xfinity points after Richmond race

John Hunter Nemechek placed second. The rest of the top five featured Josh Berry, Kaz Grala and Cole Custer. Austin Hill, who had won three of the first six races of the season, placed ninth.

Hill continues to lead the points. He has a 12-point advantage on Riley Herbst and an 18-point lead on Nemechek heading into the next series race in two weeks at Martinsville.

Chandler Smith scores first career Xfinity win with Richmond victory


RICHMOND, Va. — Chandler Smith held off John Hunter Nemechek to win his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday at Richmond Raceway.

The 20-year-old Smith took the lead with 12 laps to go and withstood a restart with six laps to go to earn the victory for Kaulig Racing.

MORE: Richmond race results, driver points

His victory came about a month after being passed for the lead with two laps to go at Las Vegas and finishing third day.

“It obviously wasn’t in God’s works for me that and I was fine with that, I was good with that,” said Smith, who will make his Cup debut Sunday. “I knew there was something bigger and better that He was playing it out for me and I just had to be faithful and keep on trucking. Here’s proof of it.”

Nemechek was second. Josh Berry placed third and was followed by Kaz Grala and Cole Custer.

Justin Allgaier finished 13th to win the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

“Today was weird because of how we finished,” Allgaier said. “Given the same circumstances a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, 13th wasn’t going to win the Dash 4 Cash but today it did.”

Stage 1 winner: Chandler Smith

Stage 2 winner: Josh Berry

Who had a good race: A caution caught Justin Allgaier a lap down, ending his chances for a top-five finish but he was able to bounce back and win the Dash 4 Cash for a fifth time. … Derek Kraus finished 10th in his Xfinity debut. … Chris Hacker placed 14th in his Xfinity debut.

Who had a bad race: Riley Herbst had his career-long streak of top-10 finishes snapped after nine races. He placed 23rd after he was hit and spun late in the race.

Notable: This is the second time in the last four races that there has been a first-time series winner. Sammy Smith scored his first series win last month at Phoenix.

Next: The series is off until April 15 at Martinsville Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Daniel Suarez, Ross Chastain move on from COTA incident


RICHMOND, Va. — Daniel Suarez says he’s been trying to “work on myself” after conflicts with teammate Ross Chastain and Alex Bowman last weekend at COTA but noted that if NASCAR doesn’t make adjustments with restarts on road courses, he’ll change his driving style.

NASCAR fined Suarez $50,000 on Wednesday for hitting another vehicle on pit road after the race. Suarez hit Chastain’s car at pit entrance and hit the back of Bowman’s car while they were both on pit road.

MORE: Cup starting lineup at Richmond 

“I’ve been trying to work on myself mostly during the week, trying to clear my mind and reset,” Suarez said Saturday at Richmond Raceway. “My team, we’re good. I think the issue wasn’t really with one driver. I feel like it’s more as an industry, how we are allowing to have those kind of bump-and-run restarts at the end of the races at road courses.

“I don’t think that’s right.”

Suarez restarted fifth in the second overtime restart. Alex Bowman, with Ross Chastain and Chase Briscoe aligned behind, charged and got beside Suarez as they approached Turn 1.

As Bowman slowed to make the tight turn, he was hit from behind and that sent him into Suarez, who clipped the left rear of Martin Truex Jr.’s car. Truex spun in front of Suarez and blocked his path, allowing the rest of the field to go by. Suarez finished 27th.

Chastain said he and Suarez have moved on from last week’s incident after talking this week.

“Every household on this earth has their moments of arguments and we had ours,” Chastain said Saturday.

“We’re family. We’re in the same house, right. It’s in our name. It’s Trackhouse. No matter what, we all think we have to put that behind and know that moving forward we’re brothers. … We’re brothers at Trackhouse and we’re going to be stronger together.”

Suarez is among the number of drivers who have raised concerns about the rough driving in the series. The Next Gen car is more durable and can take more hits — as evident in the Clash at the Coliseum to start the year when drivers barreled into the back of cars in the corners to slow down.

Add the emphasis of winning, less respect for one another and the result is the type of racing on display at the end of the race at Circuit of the Americas, as drivers charged down a long straightaway before braking hard for a tight turn and making contact with one another.

So, what can be done?

“I don’t have the answers to that,” Suarez said. “All I know is that NASCAR is working toward trying to make a better solution for some of these restarts. It doesn’t look right. This sport looks embarrassing.

“That’s not real. Just go into the corner and bump three cars to push people out of that way, that’s not real. We know that. That’s how some people got top fives and top 10s last week and some of the guys that were fast, like myself, finished 27th.

“If NASCAR does something about it, that’s amazing. If they don’t I’ll just join the party.”