BROOKLYN, MI (July 22, 2003) - While known as one of the top teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since the inception of the division in 1995, K-Automotive has had a long and rich history that has produced a winning tradition for more than...
BROOKLYN, MI (July 22, 2003) - While known as one of the top teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since the inception of the division in 1995, K-Automotive has had a long and rich history that has produced a winning tradition for more than 40 years. This weekend the Sears 200 at Michigan International Raceway marks K-Automotive's 200th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race as the Lake Orion (MI) team fields the No. 29 Power Stroke® Diesel Ford with driver Terry Cook.
"I think the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was created for teams like ours," said Team Manager Bob Keselowski. "We made the right decision to move to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series from ARCA. There are no regrets there because we've got great people like Wayne Auton and his staff that we are fortunate to work with every week. I've been pretty happy about the decision we made. The only disappointing thing out of the deal is that I didn't get to drive as long as I wanted to because my health kind of went away on me. We've been fortunate to have good drivers like Terry Cook and Dennis Setzer."
The Detroit area based team came to life in the 1960s at Michigan short tracks and in the ARCA division. In 1970, Ron Keselowski steered the family run team to the NASCAR Grand National Division (now known as Winston Cup). With brother Bob calling the shots as the team's crew chief, Ron's best finish was fourth at Michigan International Speedway. The team also entered select United States Auto Club stock car events winning at the Pocono (PA) International Speedway in 1974. In 1975, Bob and Ron reversed roles with Bob taking over the driving duties and Ron stepping in as the crew chief and engine builder. Their greatest success came in the NASCAR Grand American Series for late model stock cars winning over 30 races.
The K-Automotive team headed to the ARCA Bondo Mar-Hyde Series in 1986 winning the division championship in 1989 and finishing in the Top-10 in the standings from 1986 through 1994.
"We really enjoyed running ARCA, but I wanted to be involved with NASCAR and that's probably the biggest reason why K-Automotive entered the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series," said Keselowski. "I was trying to get back to NASCAR ever since we left it in the 70's."
With the inception of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, K-Automotive shifted gears to become a full-time NASCAR entry and has experienced more than its share of success. Bob Keselowski scored the team's first Truck Series victory at Richmond (VA) International Raceway in 1997 and as a whole, K-Automotive has posted ten victories, 36 Top-5s and 98 Top-10s in 199 NCTS events.
"The biggest thing that first comes to mind about high points in my career is my first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win at Richmond," said Keselowski. "That was a real exciting win from the standpoint that everyone was there as far as Busch and Winston Cup people. It was a dominating race and it wasn't like we lucked into to it or anything like that. It was a great night all the way around and I'm sure Terry felt the same way when he won the Power Stroke® Diesel 200 from pole position at IRP last year. That's what we tried to accomplish all those years. We tried so hard to get to that level and we finally did it. It took us a lot of races to get that win.
"I was spotting that race," said Kay Keselowski, spotter and team owner of the No. 29 Power Stroke® Diesel Ford. "After my husband Bob won, I was so overwhelmed that I could not find the tunnel. Series Director Wayne Auton was talking to me over the radio telling me how to get back to the tunnel. It was the most excited I've ever been in my life. You make a lot of friends up there on the spotter's tower and I think everyone was pulling for us that day because we were kind of the underdog. It was hard standing up there going through each lap and praying that no one spins out in front of you. When Bob crossed the finish line the entire spotter's stand, came over and gave me hugs and shook my hand offering congratulations. We are very comfortable in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and this is our home. Power Stroke Diesel and Oil Mate, the NASCAR officials, Speed, MRN and all the people in the garage are wonderful to us."
K-Automotive has overcome many challenges over the years to become a top team since the inception of the NCTS in 1995. Their biggest challenge this weekend is getting a top finish in the Sears 200 at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway nestled in the Big 3 state.
"We are excited to go to Michigan because it's a home track for K-Automotive and I grew up only 45 minutes from there," said Cook who joined the K-Automotive team at the end of the 2001 NCTS season at California Speedway. "Michigan will be a special race for K-Automotive because it's their 200th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Also, it's special because our Power Stroke® Diesel Ford team is based there, our major associate sponsor EMP Oil Mate is located in Michigan, Ford's headquarters are there and the race is sponsored by our series sponsor Sears.
"Michigan is a place where you can run the No. 29 Power Stroke® Diesel Ford NASCAR Craftsman Truck three wide," continued Cook, who has nine Top-10 finishes and is ninth in the 2003 NCTS points standings after finishing ninth at Gateway International Speedway last weekend. "My best finish at MIS is sixth. This Power Stroke® Diesel Ford team has always ran well there. You always look forward to tracks that you typically run well at. We are looking for that one race, that one spark to get this team back on target. This team is a lot better than where we are running. Here we are midseason and we still don't have a Top-5 finish. We sure know how to rack up Top-10 finishes and that's what we are doing. While we are down, we will keep racking up Top-10s until we get it figured out. Then we will get Top-5s and eventually win races again."
Cook and the No. 29 Power Stroke® Diesel Ford team will take the green flag in the Sears 200 at Michigan International Speedway, July 26 at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on Speed Channel and broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide.