Cywinski set for Key debut ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 18, 1998) Kevin Cywinski, the 1997 American Speed Association (ASA) ACDelco Challenge Series champion, will make his debut with Key Motorsports in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National...
Cywinski set for Key debut
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 18, 1998)
Kevin Cywinski, the 1997 American Speed Association (ASA) ACDelco Challenge Series champion, will make his debut with Key Motorsports in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division this weekend in the GM Goodwrench Service Plus 200 at North Carolina Speedway.
Cywinski, a native of Wausau, Wis., has been entered by car owner Curtis Key Sr. to drive his No. 11 Key Motorsports Ford Thunderbird, based in Mooresville, N.C. Bud Pole Qualifying for this event is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Cywinski signed an agreement with Key in early January and promptly headed to "The Rock" for a test session, his first test in a NASCAR Busch Series car. The experience proved successful and convinced Key that Cywinski had the tools to be successful at this advanced racing level.
"Kevin has enjoyed success at every level he has raced in the past, and what he showed in that first test impressed me," Key said. "We didn't have the right tires, but in his first 20 laps in the car he still shaved nearly three full seconds off of his lap times. Kevin is obviously a quick learner, and seeing how he approaches his work every day in the shop, wanting to learn everything about the race car, I can see why he has been so successful in the past. He is a hands-on racer."
Cywinski, the 1984 Central Wisconsin Racing Association Rookie of the Year and champion, had his first taste of truly competitive Late Model stock car competition in 1990 when he moved into the ARTGO Challenge Series. He promptly won the rookie of the year title that season, and after several strong, consistent campaigns, he carted off the series championship in 1995 after winning two races and posting 16 top-10 finishes in 20 starts.
He moved into the ASA Series in 1996, claiming the Pat Shauer Memorial Rookie of the Year honors and finishing third in overall driver points, with three wins to his credit and 15 top-10 efforts.
There was to be no sophomore jinx for Cywinski a year later as he raced to four victories, 18 top-10 finishes, completed 99.72 percent of all laps run, and earned the ACDelco Challenge Series crown. The only other driver in the 29-year history of ASA competition to have won rookie of the year honors and then the series championship consecutively was Mark Martin, a well recognized NASCAR Winston Cup Series standout.
"I am really excited about the opportunity that Curtis (Key) has given me to make my Busch Series driving debut at Rockingham," Cywinski said. "We've been working very hard on the race car, and I was really happy with the test session we ran a few weeks ago. I have a lot to learn but I am really anxious to get started. I watched Busch Series qualifying last week and I got so pumped up that I didn't sleep that night.
"I am not out to win races right away. I know that it is going to be a lengthy learning experience, but, I am in no rush. I will, however, do whatever it takes to succeed in this business, and I want to help Key Motorsports become a viable Busch Grand National Series race organization when it all shakes out."
The Rockingham event will be one of five in which Key Motorsports is planning to enter Cywinski in 1998 without having to acquire any meaningful sponsorship. Cywinski has already been entered for the March 15 race at Nashville Speedway USA, with the remaining dates to be determined after that.
"We are working on several sponsorship possibilities, and should something develop, our plans are to run Kevin in 15 or more races so that he would be eligible for the rookie of the year award," Key said. "We are not going to rush him, but we can see the talent that he possesses. We'll see what he does on the track with 30 other cars for a couple of races first, before determining our next step."
Courtesy of NASCAR Online