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A Throwback Castrol Livery Was Brad Keselowski’s Good Luck Charm at Darlington

Keselowski went three years and 110 races without visiting NASCAR’s victory lane. But now, the drought is over.

byCaleb Jacobs|
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There are lots of reasons to love NASCAR at Darlington, and after Sunday's race, that's especially true if your name is Brad Keselowski. See, fans mark it on their calendars for the throwback liveries that drivers often run there. But going forward, Keselowski will remember it as the track where he broke a three-year, 110-race winless streak in a Castrol-themed Ford Mustang.

I'm convinced that classic scheme had something to do with Keselowski's performance. Obviously, he had to use his skill to hang on through 293 laps, fighting his RFK Racing teammate Chris Buescher for most of it. But maybe copying a Japan Grand Touring Car design from a 1997 Toyota Supra was exactly the bold move necessary for him to wheel into victory lane once again.

For sure, it was a little strange seeing the TOM's Castrol colors adorning a Mustang, and doubly so since, y'know, Toyota also races in the Cup Series. You and I can both agree it probably wouldn't look as cool on a Camry body, though. Castrol and RFK Racing have been partners for a while now, and the car Buescher raced to NASCAR's closest-ever finish last week also had a Castrol livery. One can only imagine how happy both parties are with all the TV time they've enjoyed in the past seven days.

That kind of thing matters to Keselowski, too, as he's part-owner of RFK Racing alongside team founder Jack Roush. The 40-year-old took a big leap by purchasing a stake in the organization in 2022, leaving Team Penske. It was there that Keselowski achieved the bulk of his success, including the 2012 Cup Series championship and his most recent victory before Sunday at Talladega's spring race in 2021.

Keselowki's hustle and grind in recent times only made Sunday's victory sweeter.

“What a heck of a day,” he said after nabbing the checkered flag. “It’s Darlington, so whether it’s your first win, your last win, this is a really special track. The history of NASCAR, it’s as tough as it gets, and that battle at the end with my teammate and Tyler Reddick, we just laid it all out on the line, it was freaking awesome.

“I thought it couldn’t get much better than Kansas. It did today. That was awesome. I’m so glad you guys got to see that. That was incredible. Thanks for being here.”

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I'm all for honoring NASCAR's stars of yesteryear. You can inject liveries like Kyle Larson's Kellogg's-inspired Chevy straight into my veins. But by the looks of it, drivers might find their good luck charm by looking outside stock car racing for inspiration.

Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: caleb@thedrive.com

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