Roush Fenway Racing has been rebranded to RFK Racing now that Brad Keselowski is officially on the job as both driver and minority owner.
The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the car that Keselowski will test the two days on display. Keselowski will drive the No. 6 Ford Mustang with the number stylized in a nod to Mark Martin, the team’s first driver, and the original number font.
RFK Racing is the shortened version of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing.
A change in team name and logo is more than a simple rebrand. Keselowski, Jack Roush, and team president Steve Newmark reiterated the 2022 season is the next chapter in the organization’s history. It’s time to evolve, or as Newmark phrased, “it’s a new world order.”
That means getting back to winning ways and to do so, there’s been no hesitancy in making changes. Keselowski has been on the job for one week, and the shop has undergone a top to bottom cleaning and is getting new paint. He said there had been a lot of progress made and many pieces being worked on to ensure competitiveness out of the gate.
“A lot of questions on the new cars that we don’t have answers for,” said Keselowski. “One of the benefits of making this partnership at this time was the Next Gen car because it was a complete level set, and what goes with that is we have five tests effectively before the start of the season, so we’re going to leverage every one of those tests. They are huge for us to get up to speed. I expect there will be some stumbling blocks along the way, but we’d rather stumble in testing than once the season starts. It’s one of the huge opportunities we have in front of us.”
Learning everyone’s names is also important for Keselowski. He’s been wearing a name tag around the shop as a funny hint to others to help him out.
Keselowski’s first day on the job was a week ago Tuesday. According to Newmark, one week in Keselowski has shown to be very visible and present.
“He’s just there,” Newmark said. “For better or for worse, it depends on whether you ask him or his wife. He and I have been spending a ton of time together talking, even before he came in the shop. So, a lot of the engagement we’ve had is after hours on the phone just working through a lot of the hiring, the process, and procedure. Since the season has ended, he’s in the shop, so he’s walking around the shop, he’s meeting with people, and I think that’s really important.
“It is clear he will not be an absentee owner. He’s going to be a hands-on owner. He’s not just putting his name on it and then saying, ‘Hey, give me a good car. I expect to have a fast car.’ He’s in the trenches, and I think that’s really important because you hear the cliché lead by example, but I think in the racing world that’s really critical, and he’s demonstrating that.”
New name. New logo. New style. 💯
From now on, you can call us Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, or RFK Racing for short. pic.twitter.com/Zfi6AeOaBn
— Roush Fenway (@roushfenway) November 16, 2021
Matt McCall was brought in to be Keselowski’s crew chief, and Keselowski said his team would be made up of a majority of the members on the No. 1 team from Chip Ganassi Racing. McCall joined the organization from the now-shuttered Ganassi program. He brought with him car chief Nick Case, engineers Jonathan Branzelle and Josh Sell, and mechanics Jonathan Ellis and Matthew House.
“A lot of personnel from Ganassi,” said Keselowski. “Mr. Jack made a joke that if Chip wasn’t shutting down, he’d have a contract on me. I think we took almost 10 to 15 people from Ganassi and some of their best people. We’re really excited about that. Whether it’s the 1 team or also a lot of people from their corporate side and so forth. A lot of strong pieces there that we feel really good about.”
Scott Graves will continue to lead Chris Buescher’s No. 17 team. In all, Keselowski said 20 people have already been hired from other teams, and there is more to come.
Newmark explained that while some teams are contracting because of the Next Gen workforce, RFK Racing is growing. They recognized a need to bring in new talent to blend with existing talent, and it’s all part of the process the organization has committed to for its next era.
“But we’re not going to lose our roots,” said Newmark. “The basic foundations and principles upon which the company was based on when Jack started – we have a little card that shows our core value – which is unselfishness, practicality, do whatever it takes. Those won’t change; they’ll just evolve and kind of manifest themselves in a little different way.
“And we need because the reality is we haven’t been where we expect to be or where we want to be in the last few years. We’ve been mired in a place that is not where any of us aspire to be. So this is really about making sure we can have a succession plan and ensure the long-term future. We now have a five and 10 year strategic plans … and that’s because of the commitment of Roush Fenway and Brad. But we also have to show better on the tack next year. This is not five years down the road. We have to show improved performance next year.”