RACING

“It’s been an interesting year, to say the least,” says RFK’s Newmark

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While RFK Racing team president Steve Newmark stresses that the company is still in transition, he’s not using that as an excuse.

The 2022 season will mark the start of a new chapter for the Roush Group. Jack Roush found a successor in Brad Keselowski, driver and co-owner of the company. The staff moved. The racing store has had a facelift. A new contest service has been created. Of course, the whole series adapts to a new car.

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“We feel like we’re on an upward trajectory on many different aspects of the business, but there’s no doubt that we’re not where any of us want or expect to be. at this point in the season,” Newmark said on The Race Writer Podcast. “Our goal at the start of the season was to have both cars in the playoffs and we’re not there yet. There’s still time to do that, and we’ve seen that this season has been a bit crazy with all the different winners, so we still have optimism that we can get there.

“But there’s no doubt that we’ve had a lot of bite this year when you talk about the challenges that the whole industry has faced with the move to the Next Gen car but then… by adding a new driver, we’ve restructured our competition side. , added a new owner to Brad as well, and we just continued with the succession plan on our end which was well documented with Jack and passing the baton to Brad, so we added all of that in the first few months and then you you layer on top of a global pandemic and some small supply chain issues that have plagued everyone – it’s been an interesting year, to say the least.

Keselowski (No. 6) and his RFK teammate Buescher showed speed, but their best runs were also among the most unlucky, Newmark believes. Motorsport pictures

Keselowski’s No. 6 team has dug a hole since being penalized after the fourth race of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He is 29th in the standings with three top-10 finishes.

The 2012 series champion, Keselowski did not miss the playoffs under his current format. Vice-champion in 2020, Keselowski finished sixth in points last year.

Chris Buescher’s season has gone slightly better than his teammate and boss. Buescher has five top-10 finishes, and his No. 17 Ford has shown flashes of speed in recent weeks with solid finishes at the Sonoma and Road America road courses.

One of the most important things for Newmark is that he is adamant the company needs to improve this season. Although the results are not there and RFK Racing has yet to meet the high expectations set by all, Newmark can recognize the positives.

“There’s no doubt that we feel like we’ve shown a lot of speed at different times this year,” Newmark said. “Even coming out of the gate winning both Duels doesn’t get much better than that and then in the [Daytona] 500 obviously didn’t get the end result we wanted, but I think Brad led the most laps, finished in the top 10. Chris was right up there and ended up in a wreck that didn’t l ‘unfortunately didn’t relegate on arrival that we thought it deserved. But overall, if you go through the season and break it down race by race, I’d say it’s erratic.

“We had races where both cars had a lot of speed and then we had races where we just missed it, and that’s when we started to identify some of the things that we I think what we probably regret a bit is that a lot of the races in which we had very, very good speed turned out to be races where we had incidents that knocked us out. you look at Charlotte, the 600s, both were racing in the top 10. Brad gets caught in a wreck I think on a restart as he’s running sixth when Ryan Blaney punctured a tire and then Chris, who was racing in top 10 all day, obviously at the end when Suarez (spinned) and sent Chris kind of a barrel roll down the front straight.

“We look at something like that as a microcosm in that the cars were really fast, and we didn’t get the finishes that would have shown that. Now you make your own luck in this sport, and that doesn’t matter. no doubt so ultimately it’s on us but it just seems like some of the races, where frankly we haven’t been as good, we’ve had clean races If you could orchestrate it you would say , OK, if you have a car in 20th place, well, let’s let a wheel come off, or have a problem when you run there rather than when you run fifth and try to figure out how you’re going to get into the lane of victory.

The full conversation with Newmark can be heard below, or click here.

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