Michigan: Brad Keselowski preview

KESELOWSKI AT "HOME" AT MIS - Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 88 Navy Chevrolet, will return to his home track this weekend as the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Michigan International Speedway for Saturday's CARFAX 250. Keselowski, 24, grew...

KESELOWSKI AT "HOME" AT MIS - Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 88 Navy Chevrolet, will return to his home track this weekend as the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Michigan International Speedway for Saturday's CARFAX 250. Keselowski, 24, grew up in Rochester Hills, approximately two hours away from the two-mile track. The third-generation racer honed his skills at short tracks in and around Michigan, competing first in quarter midgets and later in the Factory Stock, Limited Late Model and Super Late Model Divisions.

BACK TO SECOND - After scoring a sixth-place finish last weekend at Watkins Glen, Keselowski is back to second position in the Nationwide Series driver point standings. He sits 128 points behind leader Clint Bowyer and is 46 markers ahead of Carl Edwards. Keselowski remains the lone Nationwide Series-only driver in the top five in the standings.

QUICK KESELOWSKI FAMILY HISTORY LESSON - The Keselowski family has a rich history in motorsports in Michigan that extends back to Brad's grandfather, John Keselowski. The elder Keselowski raced motorcycles and snowmobiles and first started a racing team in the early 1960s. Brad's uncle, Ron Keselowski, took over driving duties for the team in 1968 and competed in several divisions, including more than 50 races at the NASCAR Cup Series level, through 1974. Brad's dad, Bob Keselowski, and his uncle Ron later started their own team. With their family-run team, Brad's dad won the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship in 1989 and scored a win at MIS in that division in 1992. Bob Keselowski went on to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for several years before trading in his firesuit to become a team owner in the series. The family's K-Automotive team scored 10 wins, 36 top-fives and 104 top-10 finishes in a 12-year span in the Truck Series. John, Bob and Ron Keselowski were inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR - Brian Keselowski will attempt to join his younger brother Brad in Saturday's CARFAX 250 at MIS. The elder Keselowski brother will try to make his 10th Nationwide Series start of the season on Saturday. Bob Keselowski will serve as crew chief for his oldest son's No. 92 K-Automotive entry. Kay Keselowski, Brian and Brad's mom, will spot for Brian, as she normally does each race. Also in attendance will be many family members and friends, making it quite a Keselowski family affair at MIS on Saturday.

GO BLUE - On Thursday Keselowski will get to live out a childhood fantasy when he travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., to watch the University of Michigan football team practice in preparation for the 2008 NCAA season. The team is scheduled to kick off its 129th season against the University of Utah on Aug. 30, under the leadership of new head coach Rich Rodriguez. Keselowski is a life-long U-M fan, but has never had a chance to attend a game due to his racing schedule. While there on Thursday, he will get to meet some of the team's players and members of the coaching staff.

SAILORS LENDING A HAND IN JACKSON - Sailors from the Navy Submarine Torpedo Facility and Navy Recruiting District Michigan will help Habitat for Humanity construct a house for a needy family in Jackson, Mich., on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. The Navy Submarine Torpedo Facility is the No. 88 team's Fleet Honoree for Saturday's race at MIS. The team will be featured on the hood of the No. 88 Navy Chevrolet and the sailors in attendance will be special guests of the team for the day.

CHASSIS NO. 513 - The No. 88 JR Motorsports team will race Chassis No. 513 at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. It is a brand new car.

MEET KESELOWSKI - Keselowski will sign autographs for fans twice this weekend at MIS. On Friday he'll be at the JR Nation souvenir hauler from 4 - 4:30 p.m., and on Saturday he'll be at the Navy's display from 9:30 - 10 a.m. Keselowski will also make an appearance at Toledo Speedway on Friday night after final practice at MIS.

RETIRING SAILORS - On Saturday morning Keselowski will participate in the retirement ceremony for Senior Chief Kenneth Michael of Greenville, Mich., and Chief Brian Sennett of Lewiston, Mich. The ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Navy's display at MIS.

KESELOWSKI (on season to date;) - "We're extremely happy with where we're at right now. We've been flirting between second and third in the points, and after our run last week at Watkins Glen we're sitting in second. We've got our eyes on the prize of getting to the top spot, and that's what we want to do. We want to run for the championship and contend for it. I think we can do that. We've got to start plugging away and get 15-20 points a race to have a shot at Clint [Bowyer] in the final 10 races. We're going to have to dig hard. I think we've been running well enough on the mile-and-a-half tracks to certainly gain some ground there. We need to execute on those tracks and improve our short track program to make it happen."

KESELOWSKI (on battling for the point championship;) - "We got on a roll after Darlington. It really started there at Charlotte and we were on a roll up until the race at ORP. We kind of struggled there. We had a good stretch of 10 or so races where we were consistently getting top fives and top 10s. That's what you need to be a contender for the championship - just keep clicking off those top-five and top-10 finishes. We need to get back in that rhythm and finish the year out that way, and maybe with a little help from Clint we can get the championship."

KESELOWSKI (on the point deficit he faces;) - "I was reading something the other day about Alan Kulwicki when he won his championship in 1992. He wrecked out at Dover with six races to go and he was about 280 points behind and came back to win the championship. So, being only 128 behind Clint is not the end of the world. We need to race to win, and if we can win some races, we can close that gap really quickly."

KESELOWSKI (on racing at MIS;) - "Michigan is a track where you never know exactly what you're going to get with it. It seems like whenever you work on handling then you need power and need to take drag out of your car. Then you work on drag and you need handling. You work on both of those and get both right and it ends up being a gas-mileage race. You're never sure exactly how that race is going to play out, which makes it challenging. It's a driver's race track because you can move around on it - it's nice and wide. In the Nationwide car, it's a really big drafting track. With the tapered-spacer package we've got we'll really draft well there. You'll probably see speeds pick up in the race, maybe even over qualifying."

KESELOWSKI (on the importance of racing at MIS;) - "Michigan is important to me. I remember being really young and watching my dad win an ARCA race there are thinking about how cool that was. Now I'm starting to get to the point where I'm starting to get some recognition from my friends and family for what I do, and it'd be really cool to get a win in front of them."

-credit: jrm

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About this article
Drivers Carl Edwards , Brad Keselowski , Brian Keselowski , Alan Kulwicki
Teams JR Motorsports