Brad Keselowski Drives Ford Mustang Dark Horse to First Cup Victory

  • Brad Keselowski won the first race for the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse with today’s victory.
  • It also marked Keselowski’s first win as owner/driver with RFK Racing and snapped a 110-race winless streak.
  • The win is the 36th of Keselowski’s Cup Series career and 27th with Ford.
  • This marks the first win for the No. 6 Ford since David Ragan won at Daytona on July 2, 2011.
  • Today’s win is Ford’s 729th all-time in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
  • The win is the 142nd NASCAR Cup Series triumph for car owner Jack Roush and the fifth under the Roush Fenway Keselowski banner.

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 6 Castrol Ford Mustang Dark Horse – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW: WELCOME BACK TO VICTORY LANE. “It’s just so great to be here in Darlington. I love this track. I love coming here. It’s a special place to me whether you win or not, but to run up front all day and have a great car, qualify up front, it was just an awesome day for Castrol. I’m glad for Ford. Ford has been working really hard to get us up here and here we are. We got them a win, so they don’t have to hear about that anymore. I’m happy for Ford. Hopefully, there are more great things to come. It was a total team effort from the top to the bottom to get us to where we could have a fast car. We executed on pit road, led laps and were there when it counted at the end.”

CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE LAST 30 LAPS OR SO WITH ALL THE RACING THAT HAPPENED? “We were all just racing our guts out. I mean, there was nothing left on the table for any of us. I got underneath Tyler. We were kind of switching back and forth and I felt like he was probably holding me down. He probably felt like he was being pushed up. Chris got by both of us, but Chris’ car was falling off too much. He couldn’t drive away and we were just right there with him and it looked like the 45 tried to do a slide job and it just didn’t quite work and both of them had some kind of an issue. We were able to scoot back by them. A hell of a day. I don’t know if you could have asked for me. We thought Kansas was exciting. I think this was more exciting.”

WHAT ABOUT RFK AND YOUR JOURNEY TO GET HERE. “I thought Chris was gonna win it there when he got by me. I was like, ‘Dog gone it. Here’s another one that Chris got,’ but he did a hell of a job there. It’s good for us as a company, good for us as a team. It locks us into the playoffs. Just and incredible day for us here in Darlington.”

YOU ENDED THE BLUE OVAL DROUGHT. FORD FANS CAN SLEEP EASY TONIGHT. “It hasn’t been the month or two that the Ford guys have wanted, but it’s over now and they can’t hear about it now. Good for Ford. Good for everybody on this race team. We had a pretty fast car today. We just held them honest all day and ran up front and had great pit stops, good strategy and then just a dogfight at the end on the restarts. It had to be thrilling. I feel like I could hear the fans cheering in the car, but what a race. If you missed it, I’m sorry you missed a golden race. It was a hell of a day.”

WHAT ABOUT THAT DOGFIGHT WITH TYLER REDDICK AND WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND WITH BUESCHER PASSED YOU BOTH? “I was thinking that he just won this race. Clean air and he could just set sail and go. It didn’t play out that way for a number of reasons. I think he was getting free, but still a pretty epic day.”

YOU GOT THE LEAD AFTER THE 17 AND 45 GOT INTO EACH OTHER. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING THEN? “I just felt like we finally caught a break. We’ve been catching enough bad breaks that kept us from winning, so it’s nice to catch a good one.”

YOU LED FIVE TIMES FOR 37 LAPS. THIS TEAM IS STARTING TO COME TOGETHER, RIGHT? “Yeah. I feel like all along this has been a good team. We just weren’t getting the results. Some of that was in our control and some of it was not in our control, but this one we took the bull by the horns and made it happen.”

WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THE LEGACY YOU’RE BUILDING? “I’ve got a lot more I want to do. Thirty six wins is great. It’s a nice stat to have, but I want to win a lot more.”

Ford Performance Results:

1st – Brad Keselowski

3rd – Josh Berry

5th – Chase Briscoe

9th – Justin Haley

10th – Michael McDowell

14th – Noah Gragson

15th – Todd Gilliland

17th – Ryan Preece

18th – Kaz Grala

20th – Austin Cindric

21st – Joey Logano

22nd – Harrison Burton

30th – Chris Buescher

36th – Ryan Blaney

CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang Dark Horse – WHAT WAS THE FRUSTRATION WITH REDDICK? “Just getting wiped out. For me, we know it’s gonna be good, hard racing here, but we hit so hard we wheel-hopped into the fence. I don’t get it. We’ve been able to race respectfully for our careers. I try and do that week in and week out and it’s not getting us anywhere right now. To just get wiped out like that with this Fifth Third Bank Mustang, that’s a big shame. On the flip side, I’m stoked for Brad and the 6 bunch and RFK to get a win here. That’s huge, but, right now, selfishly I’m mad for my team and our group. We had a great day there and we didn’t get any finish to show for it.”

WILL YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU RACE REDDICK? “It’s got to come back around at some point. You try and be decent about it. We had clean racing all day long and to get flat-out fenced like that there’s no excuse. It’s a poor decision and an immature move. I just don’t get it.”

JOSH BERRY, No. 4 Harrison’s Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “It was just a really good day. We had a really good car yesterday in practice, but unfortunately didn’t qualify like we should have. There’s a lot to take from that, but, overall, the car was really strong. We feel like we’re capable of days like this. We just have to keep chipping away at it, keep learning, keep getting better week in and week out. I have a great group around me and this is a finish they deserve for sure.”

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “Our car was extremely good on the really, really long run, it was just the short run that we gave up too much time. It would have been interesting to see how the race played out if it went green until the end, but, overall, it’s a really good weekend for the guys. I wish we could have been a few spots better, but after the last few weeks we needed a solid run.”

WHAT ABOUT BRAD WINNING? “Brad is really the whole reason I’m in NASCAR. He was the guy who gave me a chance in one of the top three series when I was able to drive for Brad Keselowski Racing. It means a lot to me to be able to race against Brad. He was one of my favorites growing up, so I’m happy for everything. He’s been through a lot the last couple of years and to finally get back to the top I know that has to feel good. I’m also happy that a Ford won. I wish it would have been us, but it’s nice to see a Ford finally win. Our day, it was just a solid day. We kind of ran pretty much ninth to twelfth pretty much all day long and then there at the end was able to have a couple good restarts. Our car was extremely good on the long run. We were one of the best cars after 40 laps or so, but the race just didn’t play out to go with our car. Overall, a good day for us and Stewart-Haas Racing and now we’ll go on to the All-Star Race next weekend and try to race our way in.”

JUSTIN HALEY, No. 51 NC Fraternal Order of Police Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “We had a really good RIck Ware Racing 51 Ford Mustang Dark Horse today. From the moment we unloaded it was just super on the track and fast and kind of followed suit with the 6’s setup and it happened that he won and we had a good race. Overall, it was a good day. We had great execution on pit road. I feel like we cleaned up a lot of stuff and got a top 10 for Rick Ware. It was a good points day.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Freightliner Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “It was kind of up and down for us. I felt like we made some pretty good gains at the beginning of the race, jumping up quite a few spots on the pit cycle and just under green passing some cars. We kind of got lost in the middle of the race. We really struggled to get through one and two, which was hurting me in traffic, but I felt like we made the car better at the end. We grabbed a couple more spots from where we restarted, so I was back on another upswing, but not quite enough to recover from the way I qualified.”

NOAH GRAGSON, No. 10 Overstock Ford Mustang Dark Horse – “We started in the back and got put in bad positions on restarts. It’s good to see the 4 and the 14 run in the top five. I thought we had decent speed, but it was just a tough weekend overall for the Overstock team. We’ll just get ready for next week.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Maytag Ford Mustang Dark Horse – WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE? “Me and the 19 got put three-wide and it’s just a tight corner. The replay I saw, the 24 took up probably more racetrack than he should have after kind of rewatching it back. I thought it was just, kind of got tight, but you can’t run three-wide through there. Nobody wanted to lift and I got tagged and then kind of collected a few guys. The 24 took up more track than I would have liked, honestly. He kind of sandwiched the 19 into me, but it’s a really, really crappy end to our day. I thought we got pretty good. We came from not starting great and drove up there in the top 10 the first stage and finally got good pit stops and restarted sixth. I was ready to look forward to the second half of the race and never got a shot, and then the guy that causes it gets away scot-free. That’s what normally happens. It’s an unfortunate end to our day. I thought we could have learned some stuff today that could have helped us for the future and hopefully we can still take from what we learned today and apply it later on.”

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BATTLE BACK AND THEN HAVE IT GONE ALL OF A SUDDEN? “A rollercoaster ride. Ups and downs. Ebbs and flows. You’ve just got to roll with it.”

WHY DIDN’T YOU HIT THE 24? “I’m not gonna hit him. I’ll save that for another time. I almost did on accident, actually. I got on the apron and the toe link was busted. I almost actually hit him when I didn’t mean to. I just wanted to show my displeasure, so we’ll see where it goes. I just wanted to show that I wasn’t happy. After watching the replay, I kind of deserve not to be happy. He used up some good track that I thought he didn’t have to use up.”

WHAT MORE DID HE DO THAT HE SHOULDN’T HAVE? “One, don’t shove it three-wide at a place you can’t run three-wide. If he wants to do that, fine, but your responsibility is to leave room. You have to leave room for the top two cars. You shoved the bottom of three (wide), you have to leave space and he was off the dotted line until we were already wrecking. He faded up and sandwiched the 19 into me. We’re as high as we can go, so it’s like, I don’t know if he thought he had enough room or gave us enough room and didn’t or whatever. That’s just what I was like, you’re responsible for those two guys when you shove guys three-wide. You have to act like two cars are to the top of you.”

Ford Performance PR