FORT WORTH, Texas – The NASCAR Cup Series is one week removed from the news that Spire Motorsports purchased Live Fast Motorsports’ charter for $40 million. The team will run a third 2024 entry for Zane Smith via an alliance with Trackhouse Racing Team.
The move seemed to come out of the blue to outside observers, as it caught RFK Racing co-owner Brad Keselowski off guard.
“I was surprised that there was a sale of a charter,” Keselowski said. “It was kind of all the conversations I had to date with everybody was, ‘no, nothing’s for sale.’ And then, one kind of moved in the darkness. So right now, I don’t see anything happening for a while again.”
Before he got picked up by Chevrolet, Smith was under the Ford umbrella in Front Row Motorsports’ No. 38 truck. He won the 2022 Craftsman Truck Series championship with FRM and made his Cup debut in RFK’s No. 17 car at Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway after Chris Buescher was sidelined with COVID-19 in 2022.
Given Smith’s ties to both Ford and RFK, was the team ever in the running to sign him?
“Yeah, we’ve always had conversations of what we could do with even possibly an unchartered car,” Keselowski said. “But, you know, I don’t think we ever got close enough [with Zane] to have anything to tell a great story about.”
Nevertheless, RFK has seen an incredible turnaround ever since Keselowski was brought into the fold. Buescher has scored four wins in the last two seasons, while Keselowski himself is knocking on the door of his first Cup victory since April 2021.
With the recent success, RFK looks destined to expand to a third car and more down the road. That’s a scenario where Keselowski has been hesitant to pull the trigger, however, as charters are going for millions of dollars and the entire charter system itself is in limbo for 2025.
So, while a Cup Series expansion for RFK is off the table for the foreseeable future, it’s not the only avenue of expansion, as RFK used to run championship-winning operations in both the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series (the former closed after 2018 and the latter after 2009).
In Saturday’s (Sept. 23) media sessions at Texas Motor Speedway, Keselowski shared his two cents on the possibility of a Xfinity return.
“I would say we wouldn’t close the doors on anything,” Keselowski said. “It would have to be the right opportunity that I think makes sense for us and for whatever partners we would have. You know, I think we’re pretty openminded to growth as a whole, as long as it’s responsible growth and serves all the parties. That’s what it takes to be sustainable.
“So, you know, I would never say never, but there’s nothing imminent at the moment.”
About the author
Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.
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