NASCAR Cutoff Race at Charlotte Roval a Mixed Bad for Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read


  • RFK Racing and 23XI Racing had one thing in common—one of the team’s drivers advanced in the playoffs and the other one didn’t.
  • For 23XI Racing, Tyler Reddick moved on in the playoffs while Bubba Wallace didn’t.
  • Over at RFK Racing, team co-owner Brad Keselowski came up short while teammate Chris Buescher moved on to the Round of 8.

Brad Keselowski, the driver, couldn’t hide his disappointment at not advancing into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8. He had entered the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway two points above the cutline.

However, Brad Keselowski, the team owner, walked down pit road to RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher and congratulated his driver on making it into the Round of 8 that kicks off next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On this chilly fall Sunday afternoon in North Carolina, RFK Racing and 23XI Racing had one thing in common—one of the team’s drivers advanced in the playoffs and the other one didn’t.

For 23XI Racing, Tyler Reddick moved on in the playoffs while Bubba Wallace didn’t. Reddick entered the Round of 12’s cutoff race two points below the cutline, while Wallace was minus nine. Reddick earned the pole for the race and was a victory contender throughout the event leading once for 27 laps.

auto oct 08 nascar cup series playoff bank of america roval 400

Tyler Reddick took care of business on his way to the Round of 8 on Sunday. Unfortunately for RFK Racing, boss Brad Keselowski came up short.

Icon Sportswire//Getty Images

Meanwhile, Wallace struggled with his biggest setback coming with 22 laps remaining in the 109-lap race. Wallace was 13th at the time when Daniel Suarez attempted to outbrake Austin Cindric entering the chicane on the backstretch. Suarez spun Cindric who collected Wallace, causing Wallace to miss the chicane. That meant Wallace had to execute a stop-then-go at the frontstretch chicane. That dropped him to 31st.

Crew chief Robert “Bootie” Barker then told him to pit for four tires and fuel because he was concerned Wallace’s tires were flat spotted in the backstretch incident.

“It felt really good to be competitive and run up front, pass cars on road courses and not be passed,” said Wallace, who finished 16th.

“There’s a lot to look at. What I analyze is what could I have done and not be in that situation? Could I have been faster and passed another car? How to be better to not put yourself – when you’re racing around there with squirrels. It is what it is. Just didn’t have enough and it wasn’t in the cards.”

Wallace pointed to his third-place finish at Texas, when he lost the lead on the final restart with six laps remaining, as making the difference in his ability to advance in the playoffs. Still, his road course performance on his 30th birthday left him smiling.

“Usually, you couldn’t count on the (No.) 23 at a road course race,” Wallace says. “I don’t think you can say that anymore and I don’t think I can say I suck at road courses.

“We weren’t supposed to be here according to a lot of people, but we proved them wrong and then proved a lot of people in the garage wrong that you can’t really count on the 23 at a road course race. I don’t think we’re a winning car yet, but we’re light years from where we were a few races ago.”

RFK Racing didn’t qualify well with Buescher starting 20th and Keselowski 19th. Once the race started, Buescher produced a solid day before settling for a seventh-place finish.

“That was probably a little bit more stressful from on top of the box than what it was inside the race car,” Buescher says. “We basically did what we talked about doing, steadily moving up all day and being there to capture those end of day points.

“I knew if we got to the front and as long as we didn’t have a new winner from behind us I felt like we had a pretty decent idea that a top 10 would do it no matter what else anybody else captured in points. With the 8 car (Kyle Busch) being up there, again, that had us thinking a little bit differently for a little while. Once the 16 (A.J. Allmendinger) got up there and was able to hold him off time-after-time, I felt a lot better about it.”

Keselowski’s day was one of frustration. He missed the frontstretch chicane on lap 18 and was assessed a pass-through penalty. Keselowski was 10th when he pitted for four tires and fuel on lap 67. He pitted again during the fifth caution period because his Ford felt like he had a tire going down. With 17 laps remaining, Keselowski spun. The NASCAR champion eventually salvaged an 18th-place finish.

“There are lots of things I could have done differently today,” Keselowski said. “I don’t know if it would have been enough, but I probably could have had a better day if I executed a little better.”

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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