FONTANA, CA (September 16, 2003) - After relinquishing his crew chief duties to Rick Ren in May for the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Bob Keselowski will reassume his title as crew chief of...
FONTANA, CA (September 16, 2003) - After relinquishing his crew chief duties to Rick Ren in May for the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Bob Keselowski will reassume his title as crew chief of the No. 29 Power Stroke ® Diesel by International this week at California Speedway as Terry Cook is set to improve his 2002 10th-place finish. "We are really excited to have Bob back at California," said Cook. "Rick did a great job in helping us out until Bob fully recovered and was able to come back full-time. Bob's coming back because he's healthy and Rick has another opportunity. We were happy to have Rick on board. Even though we didn't have the runs we expected to have, it was not because of lack of effort. We have just had things happen that were out of our control like for instance having so many flat tires in one season."
"I guess the vacation is over and it wasn't much of a vacation because I didn't enjoy it," said Keselowski, who suffered a heart attack last April. "I'm ready to get back into it. There's a lot of catching up to do to figure out where we are at and get back on top of things. Certainly, I'm enthusiastic and energetic about doing it again because this is what I enjoy. I'm looking to get back into the groove again and be instrumental in our 2004 season launch as we conclude this season. It's just been one thing after another this year with me going down to having so many flat tires in one season. It just keeps coming. When you get down, it just multiplies and we will strive to get out of the slump."
As the 52-year-old Troy, MI native patiently set on the sidelines, Rick Ren, a native of Danville, IL was selected by K-Automotive to call the shots because of his productive career guiding the fortunes of several drivers including Ward Burton, Ricky Craven, Andy Houston, Rick Carelli and Travis Kvapil. While at Addington Racing, Ren steered the No. 60 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry to five wins, 45 Top-5s and 73 Top-10 finishes in five seasons.
"We needed somebody to lead the Power Stroke ® Diesel team and Rick was available and I'm thankful he was," said Keselowski. "His hands were somewhat tied because of us being in Michigan and him being in North Carolina. He was great to work with and all the guys enjoyed working with him because he very knowledgeable, funny and uplifting. He brought in some new ideas to the team that can be implemented into our program. It's just time for me to go back to work and Rick had an offer he couldn't refuse."
"I was glad to be asked to come over and help K-Automotive because it's a privilege to work with the Keselowski's," said Ren. "I really like Kay, Bob and Ron because they are really great people and well respected in this community. Bob's health has gotten a lot better and he's been playing more of a roll each and every week with this No. 29 Power Stroke ® Diesel/Oil Mateâ"' team. I also have a really good opportunity for myself in the 2004 season and it kind of worked out that they want me to start now and Bob feels better. It just goes hand and hand. If we were in the position where we were Top-5 in the points racing for the championship or Bob's health was not better, I would not have asked if it was o.k. to pursue other options."
Keselowski ascends atop the Power Stroke ® Diesel pit box at the two-mile tri-oval track to reclaim his reign where Cook first joined the K-Automotive organization in 2000 as driver of the No. 29 entry under his direction.
"California is the first track I drove the No. 29 entry for K-Automotive," said Cook who has five wins, seven Bud Pole Awards, 19 Top-5s and 61 Top-10s in his NCTS career. "I was pursuing my options for a ride and they were in need of a driver. They happened to have a team already in operation so we were able to run a second truck at Fontana. We started 25th and were able to finish seventh. I'm looking forward to going back because it's a smooth track where the groove is widened out. You can run two to three wide there which makes racing there exciting for the fans and drivers."
Cook and the No. 29 Power Stroke ® Diesel Ford team will take the green flag in the American Racing Wheels 200 at California Speedway Saturday, September 20, 2003, at 4 PM Eastern Daylight Time. Race No. 19 will be telecast live on Speed Channel and broadcast live on MRN Radio.