NASCAR Preseason Thunder Day 11: Keselowski ready to make his mark

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The audition is over for Brad Keselowski. Now it’s time to focus on the task at hand.

In 2007, as a “try-out”, Keselowski, drove Dale Earnhardt's Nationwide car for three weekends. Prior to that Chicagoland debut, Keselowski pointed out, “We'll re-evaluate where we are after three races.”

This year he sits firmly and confidently behind the wheel of the JR Motorsports No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet after signing a two-year deal as he gets ready to compete in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series.

“At this point in my career I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be,” Keselowski said as he waited patiently through a rain delay Saturday morning at Daytona International Speedway during the second day of  Nationwide testing. “We know we have what it takes to be competitive and we’re looking forward to getting JR Motorsports a Nationwide victory. That’s our goal and that’s what we’re working toward.”

Keselowski, who began preparation for the season-opening Camping World 300 Presented by Chevy on Feb. 16, by posting the fourth-fastest time in Friday’s morning session (178.809), started racing with a family-owned team, moving from Quarter Midgets to stock cars and eventually on to what was then the Craftsman Truck Series. And even though Keselowski has been “around the block” in a racecar, this year is a bit different.

“I’ve been racing my whole life.” The 24-year-old said. “Still I consider myself an unproven driver and as an unproven driver, you’re always concerned about how you’ll perform. Being that Dale Jr.’s the owner, that adds a bit more pressure. But I feel like I’m ready for it. I’ve gone through some other deals that have prepared me for this situation and I feel like now is my time to shine and make things work out.”

Old man Coleman: Hard to believe that Brad Coleman, driver of the No. 27 Baker Curb Racing Ford, at 19 was the oldest driver on stage during the lunchtime press conference. “Uncle Brad,” said 18-year-old Landon Cassill; “Grampa Brad,” added 18-year-old Bryan Clauson, both who took part in the presser. 

Late start: Due to inclement weather, the Day 2 morning testing session at Daytona International Speedway was delayed. The first car – Kenny Wallace in the No. 37 Baker Curb Racing Ford – finally got on track at 1:10 p.m. – more than four hours late.

Dad on hand: Bob Keselowski, 1989 ARCA Champion, was on site over the weekend keeping a watchful eye over sons Brad and Brian, both taking part in Nationwide testing at DIS.

More Nationwide: NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers will continue testing at “The World Center of Racing” through Tuesday in preparation for the season-opening Camping World 300 presented by Chevy on Feb. 16.

Auction: The NASCAR Preseason Thunder Silent Auction is online at www.nascar.com/foundation The auction started Monday, Jan. 7 and will run through Sunday, Jan. 20 at 5 p.m. Available to

bid on are many autograph items from drivers and stars such as Nicolas Cage, Kelly Clarkson, Big and Rich, Jeff Gordon, Michael Waltrip, Buddy Baker, Pete Hamilton and Jimmie Johnson.

Tickets: Race tickets for all DIRECTV Speedweeks 2008 events at Daytona International Speedway are available online at www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Saturday’s speeds from NASCAR Nationwide Series testing in preparation for the Camping World 300 presented by Chevy:

1. 18B, Kyle Busch, Toyota, 48.803, 184.415
2. 60B, Carl Edwards, Ford, 48.826, 184.328
3.20A, Mike McLaughlin, Toyota, 48.952, 183.854
4. 1A, Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 48.954, 183.846
5. 41A, Bryan Clauson, Dodge, 49.061, 183.445
6. 60A, Carl Edwards, Ford, 49.133, 183.176
7. 18A, Kyle Busch, Toyota, 49.147, 183.124
8. 56A, Danny O’Quinn, Chevrolet, 49.177, 183.012
9. 28A, Brian Keselowski, Chevrolet, 49.205, 182.908
10. 40B, Dario Franchitti, Dodge, 49.229, 182.819
11. 33B, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 49.230, 182.815
12. 4A, Robert Richardson, Chevrolet, 49.232, 182.808
13. 30A, Stanton Barrett, Chevrolet, 49.248, 182.749
14. 88A, Brad Keselowski, Chevrolet, 49.264, 182.689
15. 24A, Eric McClure, Chevrolet, 49.270, 182.667
16. 40A, Dario Franchitti, Dodge, 49.305, 182.537
17. 27B, Brad Coleman, Ford, 49.317, 182.493
18. 16B, Erik Darnell, Ford, 49.499, 181.822
19. 7B, Mike Wallace, Toyota 49.548, 181.642
20. 7A, Mike Wallace, Toyota, 49.572, 181.554
21. 16A, Erik Darnell, Ford, 49.674, 181.181
22. 21A, Tim McCreadie, Chevrolet, 49.851, 180.538
23. 37A, Kenny Wallace, Ford, 49.882, 180.426
24. 33A, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 49.882, 180.426
25. 88B, Brad Keselowski, Chevrolet, 49.958, 180.151
26. 2B, Brandon Miller, Chevrolet, 50.031, 179.888
27. 5A, David Green, Chevrolet, 50.085, 179.695
28. 5B, David Green, Chevrolet, 50.108, 179.612
29. 20B, Mike McLaughlin, Toyota, 50.355, 178.731
30. 37B, Kenny Wallace, Ford, 50.492, 178.246
31. 21B, Tim McCreadie, Chevrolet, 50.516, 178.161
32. 1B, Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 50.592, 177.894
33. 41B, Bryan Clauson, Dodge, 50.596, 177.880
 
Tickets? Questions? Call 1-800-PIT-SHOP

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