There‘s a good argument to be made that one of the hottest driver in the NASCAR Cup Series right now hasn‘t even hoisted a trophy. yet.

But Brad Keselowski has been awfully close. Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway he was in prime position to claim his first victory since 2021 — running second to fellow Ford driver Michael McDowell as the field came to the checkered flag. But a typically frantic Talladega finish instead left him runner-up by a fraction of a second to winner Tyler Reddick.

It wasn‘t a victory, but it was the second consecutive second-place finish for the owner-driver of the RFK Racing team and fifth top-10 finish through the season‘s first 10 races. Four of those have been top-five finishes, including the back-to-back runner-up showings Keselowski takes to Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway for Sunday‘s Würth 400 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Keselowski has a victory at Dover in 2012 — the same season he captured the NASCAR Cup Series championship. He‘s finished inside the top-10 in three of the last five races there.

And yet for all the recent positives to consider, Keselowski has not wavered in his stance.

“Good finishes are important, but we want wins,” Keselowski, 40, said after climbing out of his No. 6 RFK Racing Ford Mustang at Talladega. “We could really taste it today, but it just didn‘t happen.”

This is not to say that Keselowski, whose last race win was at Talladega in 2021, is not proud of the effort or encouraged by the recent results. He just has high expectations. And good reason for them.

His work this year is a strong sign that the team is absolutely progressed on-track. Keselowski became a partner with NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Jack Roush only three years ago and has already infused exactly the kind of high-level expectation and championship thinking to help bring about a racing renaissance of sorts.

His four top-five finishes through 10 races this season is already half of the total he tallied in all of 2023. His five top-10 efforts are on-track to better the mark of 16 he had last year. He‘s ranked 14th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, but only seven points behind 10th place Alex Bowman.

Keselowski‘s RFK Racing teammate Chris Buescher won three races last year and qualified for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. And he‘s got five top-10 finishes this season and is ranked 16th — only 16 points behind Bowman in 10th.

“I feel like the last two weeks especially, we‘ve earned finishes we probably didn‘t deserve,” said Keselowski, one of the most analytical drivers on the NASCAR Cup Series grid. “It kind of ebbs and flows as the season goes. But when you have cars that are capable of winning, in general, you need to make it count.”

Keselowski — a 35-race winner – closes out the Spring schedule with a good track record at promising venues. He‘s scored victories at all four of the next four points-paying tracks (excluding the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro, N.C.). He‘s won at Dover and Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and has two victories at both Kansas and Charlotte.

Combine that with his strong current run and Keselowski has plenty of reason to feel positive. He characterized his organization two weeks ago at Texas as being filled with that same “kind of never-give-up spirit” that Keselowski – the driver – has cultivated and flourished from. Certainly, things seem absolutely headed in the right direction.

— NASCAR Wire Service —

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