NASCAR: The case for — and against — all 16 playoff drivers

NASCAR Cup Series Championship Trophy - Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
NASCAR Cup Series Championship Trophy - Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /
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Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, NASCAR
Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, NASCAR Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

NASCAR playoff contenders: No. 9 – Brad Keselowski

Last season, Brad Keselowski finished a putrid 24th place in the standings in his first year driving for and co-owning RFK Racing. However, the 2023 season has been a whole different story. He finished the regular season in the top five in the standings.

The case for Brad Keselowski

Despite being winless, Keselowski has had winning speed that has become more and more frequent as the year has progressed, and he has come extremely close to breaking his win drought in multiple races this year. Those races include both Atlanta Motor Speedway races, the second race at Richmond Raceway, and the race at Michigan International Speedway.

The massive jump in speed has not just been tied to Keselowski. RFK Racing as a whole have taken a massive jump forward in terms of speed. Having gotten faster and faster as the season has gone on, Keselowski should have a great opportunity to pick up a couple wins in the playoffs and snap his long losing streak that dates back to 2021.

The case against Brad Keselowski

Keselowski’s biggest flaw is arguably why he remains winless in 2023: the lack of late race execution, especially on pit road. The biggest example of this came at Richmond Raceway in July, when he appeared to be on his way to victory but slid into his pit stall during a green flag pit stop in stage three, relegating him to a sixth place finish.

Any driver and team who hope to be racing for a championship this November will need to execute in the pits and avoid any self-inflicted issues, such as botched pit road entries. The speed has been there for Keselowski and the No. 6 team, but a Championship 4 appearance is not likely without significant improvements in the pits.