Hendrick Motorsports

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Keselowski geared up for Cup debut at Texas

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 29, 2008) – Brad Keselowski will attempt to put his No. 25 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in the Dickies 500 field during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. Should he be successful, the 24-year-old driver will make his much-anticipated Cup debut Sunday.

A Rochester Hills, Mich., native, Keselowski has recorded seven NASCAR starts at TMS in the Nationwide Series (four starts) and Craftsman Truck Series (three starts) combined. He has that many races under his belt at only one other racetrack on the Sprint Cup schedule: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

“I have some experience at Texas, and I’ve run well pretty much every time I’ve been there,” said Keselowski, who has two Nationwide Series wins this season for JR Motorsports. “I feel confident going there with Lance McGrew and the No. 25 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet. He’s gone there and ran up front and been competitive.

“I think those style tracks are some of my strengths with the way you drive into the corner and the way you roll the center. I’m looking for good things to come out of it.”

McGrew, who has a successful track record working as a crew chief for young drivers like Ricky Hendrick, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch, sees a lot of potential is his newest protégé. He also has a positive outlook for Texas.

“Texas is a place Brad chose,” McGrew said. “He felt real confident in how he gets around that place, and he likes the racetrack, which helps.

“With our teammates at Hendrick, we have a wealth of background information we can dig through, and a couple of our cars were very good there in the spring. So we’re looking at that information, plus the things that Hendrick Motorsports is doing now. We feel pretty confident.”

In addition to Sunday’s Texas race, Hendrick Motorsports this week added the Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to Keselowski’s schedule. The event is a replacement for the qualifying-day rainout at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which kept the No. 25 team out of the Bank of America 500 earlier this month.

Luckily, the delayed Cup debut hasn’t dampened Keselowski’s spirits.

“One of the benefits that I have, coming in being 24 years old versus being 19 or 20 years old, is that I’ve seen some of this before,” Keselowski said. “I’ve seen it happen to other guys and seen how it worked out just fine for them.

“It’s not the end of the world, and not getting to qualify at Lowe’s is just part of paying your dues. It’s not something I’ve lost any sleep over. I’ve just looked forward to going to Texas.”

McGrew has picked Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 25-441 as the No. 25 team’s primary option for this weekend. The car saw action last month in a Lowe’s Motor Speedway test session that was deemed successful by Keselowski—and not simply because he posted quick lap times.

“The biggest thing about the Lowe’s Motor Speedway test has nothing to do with the track, and that’s building chemistry between the team and myself,” he said.

McGrew agrees that chemistry and communication are keys to success. He also thinks Keselowski’s attention to detail and open-minded approach will do nothing but help his development as a driver.

“Brad is very open to any sort of idea or information that I want to give him,” McGrew said. “He’s all about racing. All he’s worried about is going fast and making the right moves in his career and trying not to step back.

“He’s very talented and very good with feedback. Coming from his background, he definitely has a wide knowledge of how the cars go together and how they’re supposed to work, which is very helpful when he’s diagnosing issues or telling me what they’re doing. He’s very descriptive.”

But now the focus is on the Oct. 31 qualifying session at Texas, and McGrew has a Halloween costume suggestion for young Keselowski.

“A first-time Sprint Cup driver. That would be good.”