Brad Keselowski has the best of both worlds going into the first elimination race of the NASCAR Cup Series postseason Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

As the driver of the No. 6 RFK Racing Ford Mustang, Keselowski is solidly above the cutline. Sitting fifth on the playoff grid, Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, is 33 points to the good. And as the co-owner of the No. 17 Ford Mustang, Keselowski and Chris Buescher have a chance to advance both cars into the next round. Buescher is 13 points above the cutline.

“It’s good to have both cars in the black and not in the red when it comes to points,” Keselowski said this week. “Of course, the 6 car having a good 30-something point cushion, which is enough to feel pretty comfortable as long as we just don’t have a complete disaster of a race. The 17, still having a cushion somewhere over 10 points… that’s better than nothing, certainly, and better than being in the red.”

Had it not been for a tire failure inside the final 10 laps last weekend at Kansas Speedway, Buescher might be well above the cutline as well. Buescher was running 12th when the right rear tire blew and sent him into the wall. He finished 27th, as Keselowski finished ninth.

“So that was unfortunate, but I’m pretty confident that we can have two strong cars and good runs this weekend, and looking forward to repeating our results from last fall at Bristol,” Keselowski said. “A lot of energy, a lot of excitement for RFK with both teams and I’m certainly pumped to go to Bristol this week – it’s one of my favorite tracks.”

Buescher is the defending race winner at Bristol Motor Speedway. He and Keselowski, who were not a part of the 2022 postseason, dominated the night with a combined 278 of 500 laps led. It was Buescher in victory lane, but Keselowski blew a tire while leading with 87 laps to go.

The strength of two top-10 finishes in the first two playoff races has positioned Keselowski well going into the Tennessee bullring. However, Keselowski seemed to downplay the team’s performance when he posted on X, formerly Twitter, after Kansas that he and his team were “surviving” after increasing his playoff advantage.

“Surviving and thriving may not always be the same, but sometimes surviving is thriving in the playoffs, by the way, the way these things are set up,” Keselowski said. “I guess everyone has a different perspective on it. I want to get through each round the best we can and then move on.

“Ultimately, if you get to the Championship 4, nobody else cares about the nine races before that. Conversely, you can win two or three races and not make the final four, and it still not be considered a good year. I think the way that this thing is set up, you have to just continuously survive. It’s a survivorship mentality.”

Keselowski is a three-time winner at Bristol.