Brad Keselowski has pulled out of driving the #22 Penske Dodge at Watkins Glen International this weekend, after admitting that his recovery from injuries sustained in a high speed crash in testing at Road Atlanta last week wasn't proceeding as quickly as hoped.
"After phys therapy session last night, it became obvious that progress was slower then hoped," said Keselowski on Twitter. "Although I'm getting better, driving severely aggravates my ankle & back. So rather then take 2 steps forward with rehab and 2 back with NNS/Cup, just Cup."
Keselowski admitted that although his fractured ankle got all the media attention, it was actually his back that was giving him the most problem and that the pain was "tremendous."
Keselowski's place behind the wheel on Saturday will be taken by his Cup team mate Kurt Busch giving him extra track time ahead of Sunday's main event.
"I have always tried to be a great team player throughout my career, and I am happy to help out our Penske Racing Team over on the Nationwide side this weekend at the Glen," said Busch in the team announcement. "With the incredible effort Brad Keselowski put forth last weekend in winning Sunday's race at Pocono, we think it's a smart move to let him focus on just the Sprint Cup action this weekend."
Although not thought a road course specialist, Busch actually has a very successful record in Nationwide races at the Glen, finishing third place in 2005 and winning in 2006. He also won the most recent Cup race on a road course at Infineon in June.
Busch stepping in will mean that the Nationwide race will be his first rematch with Jimmie Johnson after the two exchanged angry words after the rain-hit Cup race at Pocono, as Johnson is making his first series appearance in three years in a bid to get more road course time ahead of Sunday's Cup race.
Drug busts rock Earnhardt-Ganassi
Two Earnhardt-Ganassi crew members were arrested and charged with drugs offences mid-week.
Trevor Lysne, who is the front-tyre changer for Juan Montoya's #42 car at Cup races, and team mechanic Jerome Frey were arrested as part of a police operation that recovered over ten pounds (almost 5kg) of marijuana alleged to have shipped from California. The drugs operation did not involve any activities undertaken during their work with the team.
Both men appeared in North Carolina Superior Court in Huntersville on Wednesday to face a variety of drugs-related charges including trafficking, possession with intent to sell and maintaining a dwelling to distribute marijuana.