Daytona: Brad Keselowski preview

NEW START FOR NO. 88 TEAM -- Brad Keselowski and the No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet team will kick off the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series season on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway with new resources, new teammates and a new...

NEW START FOR NO. 88 TEAM -- Brad Keselowski and the No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet team will kick off the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series season on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway with new resources, new teammates and a new paint scheme.

NEW RESOURCES -- With the merger between the JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports Nationwide Series operations, JRM now utilizes chassis, engines and vehicle engineering support from HMS.

NEW TEAMMATES -- The merger also gave Keselowski and the No. 88 U.S. Navy Chevrolet a strong lineup of teammates. In 2008, driving duties for the No. 5 Chevrolet will be shared between Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Ron Fellows, Adrian Fernandez and Landon Cassill. This pairs Keselowski with a restrictor-plate master, a two-time Cup champion, the Nationwide Series all-time win leader, two road course aces and a rookie.

NEW PAINT SCHEME -- The No. 88 U.S. Navy Chevrolet will sport a new "Dress White" paint scheme for the 2008 season. Unveiled in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the car was modeled after the Navy's summer uniform and painted white with flat black Navy decals.

KESELOWSKI FAMILY HISTORY -- When Keselowski starts Saturday's Camping World 300 he will become the second member of his family to race the No. 88 at Daytona International Speedway. His uncle, Ron Keselowski, drove the No. 88 to a seventh-place finish in the 1972 Firecracker 400 at DIS.

KESELOWSKI AT DAYTONA -- As Keselowski kicks off his first full season of competition in the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday, he will also make his first series start at DIS. He does have two previous NASCAR Truck Series starts at Daytona and scored his career-best Truck finish (seventh) at DIS in 2005.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP -- While Keselowski may lack experience at Daytona, his crew chief, Tony Eury Sr., brings a wealth of knowledge to the No. 88 U.S. Navy team with more than 20 years of experience as a crew chief. His guidance has taken a number of drivers to Victory Lane at DIS, including Dale Earnhardt Sr. Eury led Earnhardt Sr. to seven Nationwide Series wins at Daytona, including five in-a-row from 1990-1994.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY -- Keselowski will celebrate his 24th birthday on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The No. 88 team's hauler driver, Bill Cole, will also celebrate his birthday on Friday, Feb. 15.

TESTING NOTES -- In NASCAR Preseason Thunder Nationwide Series testing at DIS, Keselowski and the No. 88 U.S. Navy team ended up ninth-fastest of the 43 teams that participated.

CHASSIS NO. 379 -- The No. 88 team will run Chassis No. 379 at Daytona.The No. 5 team ran this car in last year's Nationwide Series race at Daytona with Kyle Busch. The team led the most laps before falling out with fuel pump problems. The Navy team will have Chassis No. 348 on hand as a backup.

SEABEES JOIN JRM AT DIS -- "We build -- we fight." That's the motto of the Seabees -- the Navy's deployable engineer force. Eight Seabees will be special guests of the Navy team in the pits for Saturday's race.


BRAD KESELOWSKI (on racing with teammate and team owner Earnhardt Jr. at Daytona) -- "Junior's one of the best when it comes to restrictor-plate racing, so I can't think of anyone I'd rather have as a teammate going into Daytona. He came down during testing and I followed him in the drafting session for a while and was able to learn a few things. We've both got great cars for the race, so I'm sure we'll work together as much as possible. Everyone at JR Motorsports is ready to go out and get the company's first win, and I can't think of a better place to do it than Daytona"

BRAD KESELOWSKI (on driving the No. 88 Navy Chevy for full season) -- "I'm ready to get moving on the new season in the No. 88 U.S. Navy Chevy. We had a few good runs toward the end of last year, and with all the new resources we've got this season, I can't wait to get back on the track. I've never had an opportunity like this before. To be able to drive cars of this caliber with a team like JR Motorsports and the support of all the hard-working sailors who are stationed across the world -- it's hard to put into words just how awesome that is."

TONY EURY SR. (crew chief and director of competition on racing at Daytona) -- "I'm looking for a top five, if not a win this weekend at Daytona. We've got a really good car that we're bringing down. Our teammate has a really good car as well, so we're hoping for a one-two finish."

REAR ADMIRAL RICHARD E. CELLON (Commander, First Naval Construction Division) -- "Deployed to all corners of the globe, Navy Seabees make significant contributions every day to a variety of military and humanitarian efforts. Whether building facilities for our troops fighting the Global War on Terror, helping residents recover from natural disasters, or building clinics, schools or drilling water wells in underdeveloped areas, Seabees, with their "Can Do" worth ethic are making life better for countless people around the world."

DAVID JONES (Utilities 1st Class -- Fleet Honoree on Navy Chevy) -- "I grew up going to races with my dad, watching Dale Earnhardt battle Cale Yarborough. For me to be able to attend this race and to stand up and represent all my fellow 'Bees is a once in a career, no, a lifetime event."

-credit: jrm

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About this article
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Adrian Fernandez , Ron Fellows , Landon Cassill , Brad Keselowski , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams JRM Racing , JR Motorsports