SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Australian ace Owen Kelly will realize a boyhood dream when he makes his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut for Phoenix Racing at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) Int’l on Aug. 11.
Kelly will become the eighth Australian to compete in the highest level of NASCAR competition and will join fellow Tasmanian and full-time Sprint Cup driver Marcos Ambrose on the grid in the Cheez-It 355.
Kelly secured the seat in the No. 51 entry after an impressive performance in Kyle Busch’s JGR No. 54 Monster Energy car in the Nationwide race at Road America last month where he qualified second and finished fourth despite running out of fuel while challenging for the lead.
The week following the Watkins Glen race, Kelly will be back behind the wheel of Busch’s No. 54 Nationwide car at Mid Ohio – the Joe Gibbs Racing operation has provided its blessing for Kelly’s Sprint Cup debut with Phoenix Racing.
The Phoenix Racing opportunity developed after an internal meeting between well-known team owner James Finch, No. 51 Crew Chief Nick Harrison and the team’s Australian engineer Andrew Dickenson.
“The phrase ‘a dream come true’ is used a lot, but there is no other way to describe this,” said Kelly when the deal was confirmed with Phoenix Racing’s owner James Finch today. “When you look at the numbers, NASCAR is the pinnacle of world motorsports and I am humbled that an organisation with the history and depth of Phoenix Racing has provided me with this opportunity. I am proud to be one of a select few Australians to have been given a shot at NASCAR’s top level and I will be doing everything in my power to give Phoenix Racing the best possible result at Watkins Glen.”