2023 season preview: RFK Racing
Editor‘s Note: Today‘s RFK Racing preview continues NASCAR.com‘s countdown of team previews for the 2023 Cup Series season, ranked in reverse order of best finish in last year‘s owner standings.
Driver-crew chief pairings: Brad Keselowski-Matt McCall (No. 6), Chris Buescher-Scott Graves (No. 17)
Team outlook: After a historic move to partial ownership of formerly-named Roush Fenway Motorsports, Brad Keselowski helped usher newly-named RFK Racing into the Next Gen era with championship aspirations. Though the team started on a special note, sweeping the Duel races at Daytona International Speedway, it struggled with consistency through the early part of the season. However, patience paid off, and the organization started to find its stride toward the end of the season, highlighted by Chris Buescher’s impressive victory in the Bristol Night Race.
That momentum should carry over to the 2023 season, with Keselowski aiming to find his way to Victory Lane again after only his second winless season in 13 full-time seasons. Though they are a two-car operation battling many strong three- and four-car teams, Keselowski and Buescher certainly have the prowess to each hang a crooked number in the win column. They rarely found any consistent speed at 1.5-mile tracks, but they should be among the short list of favorites at short tracks and even road courses a handful of times this season. Each of Buescher’s three top-five finishes came at short ovals and road circuits, while Keselowski flashed a much-improved run with a fifth-place finish (his best finish of the season) at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Both should be well in contention for one of the 16 Cup Series Playoffs spots after missing the cut in 2022.
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 6 FORD
Experience: 13 full-time seasons in NASCAR Cup Series.
2022 stats: 0 wins, 1 top five, 6 top 10s
2023 championship odds (BetMGM): 66-1
Outlook: Keselowski should be more eager to return to the winner’s circle than ever after a dry spell in 2022, the first calendar year he did not have a victory in over a decade. The RFK Racing driver-owner should be much more settled into his new role and start a new path to regaining his championship-winning form with his new organization. A solid season for the No. 6 would be one or two wins during the regular season, and based on a handful of stellar runs in 2022, that is certainly a reasonable expectation. The veteran’s numbers were down across the board after switching to RFK, so expect him to set personal records for his organizational statistics in top fives and top 10s by a large margin after a disappointing 2022.
CHRIS BUESCHER, NO. 17 FORD
Experience: Seven full-time seasons in NASCAR Cup Series.
2022 stats: 1 win, three top fives, 10 top 10s, 1 Busch Light Pole Award
2023 championship odds (BetMGM): 100-1
Outlook: Leading an exceptional 169 laps in the Bristol Night Race, Buescher proved he can not only win a race but dominate one. His first Cup Series victory came in his first full-time season (2016) and was followed by five empty seasons, so expect the now-experienced veteran to have a better follow-up season this year than in years past. Though he won a race last season, the win came in the playoffs, where he was not eligible to fight for the Bill France Cup. If he can’t find Victory Lane during the regular season, Buescher should be in the middle of the bubble battle for one of the 16 playoff spots if his consistency improves even slightly. His best chances for wins will be at superspeedways and short tracks and could be a top dark horse pick at any of the road courses based on surprisingly impressive showings last year.
RELATED: Opening championship odds | 2023 schedule
NASCAR.com 2023 team previews schedule
Jan. 23: Non-chartered and teams outside the top 30
Jan. 24: Spire Motorsports
Jan. 25: Wood Brothers Racing
Jan. 26: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 27: Front Row Motorsports
Jan. 30: Kaulig Racing
Jan. 31: RFK Racing
Feb. 1: Legacy Motor Club
Feb. 2: Richard Childress Racing
Feb. 7: 23XI Racing
Feb. 8: Stewart-Haas Racing
Feb. 9: Joe Gibbs Racing
Feb. 10: Hendrick Motorsports
Feb. 13: Trackhouse Racing
Feb. 14: Team Penske