Phoenix: Brad Keselowski preview

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES -- As Brad Keselowski enters the eighth race of the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series season in the No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet Monte Carlo, he is well ahead in many areas in comparison to the 2007 season...

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES -- As Brad Keselowski enters the eighth race of the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series season in the No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet Monte Carlo, he is well ahead in many areas in comparison to the 2007 season that he started with the No. 23 team.

LOOKING AT THE NUMBERS -- After seven races in 2008, Keselowski has scored two top fives and one top-10 finish for JR Motorsports. The 24-year-old driver ranks sixth in the Nationwide Series driver standings, just 168 points out of the lead. At this point last year, racing for the No. 23 team, Keselowski's best finish was 25th (Atlanta) and he was ranked 38th in the series point standings, 861 points out of first.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING -- Keselowski's Loop Data, calculated by STATS, LLC and NASCAR, also shows a significant improvement from 2007 to 2008. In comparing his season averages from 2007 to his averages so far in 2008, he ranges from 45.6 to 153.7 percent better in starts, finishes, running position, quality passes and driver rating.

HOW KESELOWSKI STACKS UP -- In comparison to other drivers in the Nationwide Series, Keselowski has racked up some impressive stats so far in 2008. He ranks as the series season leader so far in quality passes (passes made while running in the top 15 under green-flag conditions) He's made 250 quality passes in comparison with Carl Edward's 232 and team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 221 passes. In percentage of laps run on the lead lap, Keselowski ranks third among the drivers who have competed in 75 percent of the scheduled races. He's been on the lead lap 92.9 percent of the time and ranks behind Edwards (97.9 percent) and David Reutimann (93.1 percent). Keselowski is also ranked fourth in laps inside the top 15 out of total possible season-to-date laps. He's run inside the top-15 for 84.4 percent of the laps, and is outranked by only Edwards (94 percent), Clint Bowyer (88.9 percent) and Reutimann (87.2 percent). All data is courtesy of STATS, LLC and NASCAR.

KESELOWSKI AT PHOENIX -- Keselowski has two previous Nationwide starts at PIR and one prior Truck Series start. He scored his best finish at the one-mile track last November when ended up 21st in the U.S. Navy Chevrolet.

NO. 88 TEAM AT PHOENIX -- The No. 88 U.S. Navy team has four prior starts at Phoenix International Raceway. The team's best start is fourth and its best finish is eighth (Nov. 2006).

FLEET HONOREE -- The Navy team's Fleet Honoree for Friday's race at Phoenix International Raceway is the Maritime Civil Affairs Squadron ONE. The establishment of Maritime Civil Affairs Squadron ONE is a result of the Chief of Naval Operations Global War on Terrorism Initiative. Civil affairs activities enhance the relationship between military forces and civil authorities, and involve the application of civil affairs functional specialty skills in areas normally the responsible of civil government. The squadron exists to deploy maritime civil affairs teams properly trained, fully equipped and on time. The command's maiden deployment in support of USNS Mercy is just around the corner

KESELOWSKI (on comparing 2007 to 2008) -- "It's kind of crazy to look back at the start of last year and compare it to this year. I was in a completely different situation in terms of teams and equipment. Starting the season off with JR Motorsports, a team that has all the parts and pieces in place to run up front, has made a huge difference for me. It's really cool to run with Carl [Edwards], the defending series champion and guys like Clint [Bowyer] and David [Reutimann] each week."

KESELOWSKI (on his opportunity with JR Motorsports) -- "This ride with JR Motorsports is the best opportunity I've had in my career. I've been fortunate enough to have a few smaller opportunities along the way that have led me here, and I think those experiences have helped prepared me for this ride. I know there's a lot of talent out in the garage, so the pressure is on me to get the job done out on the track."

KESELOWSKI (on running up front in the Navy Chevrolet) -- "When you're in a situation like this you have to realize that you probably won't get a second chance, so you've got to make the most of it. So far, that's what we've been doing. We've been running up front. Now we need to go win some races and we'll solidify ourselves. Every race is an opportunity for us to win and that we have a shot at winning any of the races we go to this year. I'm very excited about that I'm very excited about being with the Navy team and to have the people and equipment to be in that position in each week."

-credit: jrm

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Clint Bowyer , Brad Keselowski
Teams JR Motorsports