Brad Keselowski Goes Full Michael Jordan and Makes Bold Prediction for Number of Wins With New Cup Series Team in 2022
After years with Team Penske, Brad Keselowski has started a new chapter with Roush Fenway and put his stamp on the organization in a big way, beginning with a name change announced this week to Roush Fenway Keselowski. One of the 2012 Cup Series champion’s main responsibilities at his new gig is improving competition.
The 37-year-old driver/co-owner showed this week how much he believes in his ability to do just that when he channeled 23XI Racing co-owner Michael Jordan and his bold prognostication before the 2021 season, and revealed some lofty expectations of his own, including number of wins for RFK in 2022. Can Keselowski’s new team do what 23XI Racing failed to do?
Brad Keselowski found success on and off the track in the past
It’s undeniable. Brad Keselowski is a winner. In 14 years of Cup racing, he’s won 35 times and the 2012 title. And it’s not just limited to the Cup Series or as a driver.
He also produced success in the Truck Series as an owner. The Brad Keselowski Racing team put up impressive numbers from 2015-2017 with Tyler Reddick, Daniel Hemric, and Austin Cindric behind the wheel, including three wins and finishing in the top three in points two out of the three years. It shut down operations after the 2017 season.
With that diverse background, Keselowski plans to use what he’s learned as an owner and a driver through the years and implement many of those same processes and winning attitude at RFK.
Brad Keselowski has lofty expectations for RFK in 2022
After months of talking about it, Brad Keselowski has settled nicely in his new role at RFK over the last few weeks. Constantly changing hats, the driver version showed up at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Next Gen car testing this week and posted some impressive times.
Keselowski knows impressive numbers in testing versus an actual race with other cars battling for the same space are two very different things. He also understands with the current team in place, the changes being made throughout the organization with his input, and most importantly, the introduction of the Next Gen car, 2022 provides a unique opportunity for RFK. All of those factors combined, he’s extremely optimistic and sounds quite similar to 23XI Racing co-owner Michael Jordan before the start of the 2021 season.
“A good season in 2022 is probably winning a lot of races — at least between the two cars, three or more — and I’d say, of course, being in the playoffs,” Keselowski told Fox’s Bob Pockrass. “That’s pretty much a no-brainer.”
Michael Jordan made bold prediction before 2021 and team failed to achieve it
While Brad Keselowski knows success in NASCAR, Michael Jordan is one of the most successful athletes in sports history. Last year, he joined the NASCAR family when he teamed up with Denny Hamlin to form 23XI Racing. Interestingly, before the Daytona 500, Jordan made similar remarks about expectations for his team and Bubba Wallace for the 2021 season.
“I feel like he’s going to learn how to win,” Jordan said of Wallace. “He’s got the talent. We would have not invested in him and picked him if he didn’t have the talent to win. By the end of the year, I think he’s going to have an opportunity and probably will win at least a couple of races. If it’s more, I’ll be elated.”
Wallace struggled for much of the year, but did manage to win his first Cup race late in the season at Talladega, an impressive achievement for any first-year organization. It was, however, still short of Jordan’s prediction.
While the comments are similar as far as number of wins are concerned, Keselowski has several things working in his favor that Jordan didn’t. For starters, he’s not starting from the ground up. The organization that he joined is already well established and has had considerable success in the past. He’s just expected to turn it around.
Secondly, he’s the one getting behind the wheel. Winning or losing a race is literally in his hands. And finally, the Next Gen car levels the playing field for all teams.
For those reasons, Keselowski’s bold claim on his expectations for 2022 aren’t quite as far-fetched as Jordan’s. Now it’s time to see if he can back it up.