By Sporting News Wire Service
February 18, 2011 8:27 PM, EST
With a sustained push from his brother, Brian Keselowski
finished fifth in Thursday’s second Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying event and raced his way into Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Since then, his phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
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Ray Evernham called with an offer to pick up Keselowski’s tire bill for the weekend — a cool $10,000 or so. Keselowski is driving a 2006 Dodge Charger that Evernham built years ago, and he came to the track this weekend with one set of tires.
Penske Racing, which fields Sprint Cup cars for Keselowski’s younger brother, Brad Keselowski
, offered to supply a stronger engine for the No. 92 Dodge. Unlike other well-heeled teams, Keselowski doesn’t have a fresh engine to put in the car for Sunday’s race.
A complication is that Keselowski is running an older generation R5 engine. The new R6 power plant available from Penske requires, among other things, completely different motor mounts and an external fuel pump. According to Keselowski’s father and crew chief, Bob Keselowski
, the team might not be able to install the engine in time for Saturday’s practice.
Keselowski also is working on a sponsorship deal with Golden Corral, which already had sent him a mockup of the paint scheme for Sunday’s race.
“Honestly, I couldn’t answer all the calls,” Brian Keselowski said. “It’s just been insane. By the time I got out of the media center and got dressed [after the race], I looked at my phone, and I had 50-something messages and text messages and phone calls. It’s been crazy”
Bayne will not go to a backup
After a last-lap crash in Thursday’s second Duel 150 qualifying race, Trevor Bayne
assumed he’d be in a backup car for the 500.
A thorough examination of the car found no structural damage, and the Wood Brothers, who get their chassis from Roush Fenway Racing, decided to repair the No. 21 Ford rather than roll out a backup.
“We were standing there looking at it yesterday, and some of the guys in [Jack Roush’s] fab shop that helped build the car to start with said they could fix it,” Wood Brothers co-owner Len Wood said.
As a consequence, the team opted to sit out both Friday practice sessions while the car was repaired.
Sprint Cup practice doesn’t draw a crowd
What if NASCAR scheduled a practice session and no one showed up?
The speedway wasn’t empty during the two Sprint Cup practice sessions on Friday, but it was close.
Only 12 of the 43 cars qualified for the Daytona 500 participated in Friday’s first practice session. Only 12 cars showed up for the second session, too, as teams were content to change to their Daytona 500 engines and work on their cars in the garage stalls, rather than risk calamity on the race track.
Many of the cars that took to the track were those that either weren’t up to satisfactory speed in the Duels, were damaged in those races and subsequently repaired (as with Jeff Gordon
‘s No. 24 Chevrolet), or were backup cars (as with David Ragan
‘s No. 6 Ford).
“We’re sitting out [Friday’s] practice completely,” Kyle Busch
said. “We’re working on the car and doing our engine change and making sure everything is up to spec and tuned for the 500. We’ll probably just go out for practice a little bit [Saturday] just to make sure the engine runs — it runs on all eight cylinders, and the spark plugs are good.
“That’s about it. We’ll get out there with one of our teammates most likely and push them around for a few laps and call it a day.”]]]]> ]]>