2021 Season in Review: Brad Keselowski
CREW CHIEF: Jeremy Bullins
TEAM: Team Penske
POINTS: Sixth in NASCAR Cup Series
WINS: One (Talladega I)
LAPS LED: 331
TOP 5s: 10
TOP 10s: 17
QUALIFIED FIRST: Four times (Phoenix I, Kansas I, Darlington I, Watkins Glen)
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Keselowski secured his eighth consecutive Cup Series playoff berth with an overtime win in April at Talladega Superspeedway. He only led the final lap in claiming his sixth career Cup win at NASCAR’s biggest track, which puts him equal with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon; only Dale Earnhardt Sr. (10 wins) has more ‘Dega victories.
Off the track, Keselowski realized his ambitions of team ownership at the Cup level. After weeks of reports and rumors, it was announced in July that he would leave Team Penske at season’s end to join Roush Fenway Racing as a driver/owner.
Along with attaining an ownership stake, Keselowski noted his long-term contract to drive for the organization and a chance to play a key role in its competition department among his reasons to make the move.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Following a trip to the Championship 4 in 2020, Keselowski and the No. 2 team couldn’t carry that form into 2021.
His single win and 10 top-five finishes were his fewest in both categories since 2015. Additionally, his 17 top-10 finishes and 331 laps led were his fewest in those categories since 2013; that season, Keselowski failed to make the playoffs after winning the Cup title the year before.
With just eight playoff points on hand, Keselowski doggedly stayed in the post-season picture. He entered the Round of 8 cut race at Martinsville just six points behind the cutline to reach the Championship 4. But needing to score a win in the final laps, Keselowski could only come away with third place.
All three Team Penske drivers in playoff contention - Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney - failed to reach the title finale.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2022: After 12 seasons as a full-time driver for Team Penske, Keselowski begins a new chapter at the recently rechristened RFK (Roush-Fenway-Keselowski) Racing. While driving the organization’s No. 6 entry, Keselowski seeks to help revitalize RFK, a former NASCAR powerhouse that hasn’t won a Cup race since July 2017. He’s already revealed his mission to create “a culture of high expectations” that isn’t afraid to “fail forward” – being able to try new things, learn from them, and get better.