Keselowski wins the pole for Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark 500 at Texas, recap, takeaways

Brad Keselowski had the look of a proud dad last weekend at the Bristol (Tenn) Motor Speedway. While it was a little weird for him to have led 109 laps and have a tire blow while leading in the closing laps, his teammate Chris Buescher picked up where he left off.

Buescher took 2 tires on his final pit stop and would never look back in leading the final 61 laps en route to the first NASCAR Cup Series win as an owner for Keselowski. It was a reward for all the hardwork that Keselowski had put into this venture in becoming part owner of Roush Fenway Racing. It was rebranded RFK Racing. Part of that was being sure Buescher was locked in as one of his drivers.

7 days later, Keselowski got redemption by scoring his 18th career Busch Pole Award by earning the top starting spot for Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, USA, PRN) at the Texas Motor Speedway.

It was his first pole of the season and 2nd of his career at the 1.54-mile Fort Worth area track. The Michigan native turned in a lap of 188.990 mph in the 2nd and final round in his No. 6 Ford to net his 6th top 10 starting spot in his last 7 tries here. He’s improved in each of his last 3 finishes too in going from 39th to 9th to 6th to 4th to….1st?

He has the best view.

RFK Racing has vastly improved over the 2nd half of this season. In the first 15 races of 2022, they had 0 wins, 0 top 5’s, 4 top 10’s and 88 laps led. Over the last 14 starts, they have 1 win, 3 top 5’s, 9 top 10’s and 298 laps led.

That has Keselowski beaming and walking with an extra pep in his step heading into the Round of 12 opener even though he’s not in the playoffs.

“It’s certainly a lot of progress,’’ Keselowski said, adding, “You do things in this sport and it takes six to eight months to be noticed. It takes months and months of hard work for it all to come together and it’s super painful.

“Obviously, very proud to show speed. Now it’s actually starting to show up. It’s been a painful journey, but a good one.’’

He’ll be joined on the front row by former teammate Joey Logano. The Team Penske driver has his 2nd front row starting spot in his last 3 Texas starts including 4 straight top 5’s here now too. This is also Logano’s 4th top 3 starting spot in the last 5 races on the season at that.

William Byron starts 3rd in his No. 24 Chevrolet for his 4th start in the 2nd row in the last 7 races on the year. He finished 2nd a year ago.

Tyler Reddick is 4th in his No. 8 Chevrolet while Michael McDowell rounded out the top 5.


  • RCR had a great day in the sense that they had the top 2 practice speeds earlier with Tyler Reddick leading Group A and Austin Dillon Group B. They’ll start P4 and P7.
  • Ford has 3 of the top 5 qualifiers from 3 different teams (RFK, Penske, Front Row Motorsports).
  • 3 of the 4 HMS cars qualified in the top 9 (Byron 3rd, Elliott 6th, Larson 9th).
  • Toyota struggled with Hamlin (8th) the only driver in the top 14 of the starting lineup.
  • Several playoff drivers struggled in qualifying with Alex Bowman (17th), Christopher Bell (22nd) and Chase Briscoe (30th) coming from midpack on back.
  • SHR struggled in general with starting: 23rd (Harvick), 24th (Custer), 25th (Almirola) and 30th (Briscoe).

Starting Lineup

Row 1: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano

Row 2: William Byron, Tyler Reddick

Row 3: Michael McDowell, Chase Elliott

Row 4: Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin

Row 5: Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez

Row 6: Austin Cindric, Ross Chastain

Row 7: Chris Buescher, Ryan Blaney

Row 8: Martin Truex Jr., Ty Gibbs

Row 9: Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch

Row 10: Bubba Wallace, Harrison Burton

Row 11: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Christopher Bell

Row 12: Keivn Harvick, Cole Custer

Row 13: Aric Almirola, Noah Gragson

Row 14: Erik Jones, Todd Gilliland

Row 15: Corey LaJoie, Chase Briscoe

Row 16: Justin Haley, Ty Dillon

Row 17: Garrett Smithley, BJ McLeod

Row 19: Landon Cassill, Cody Ware

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