Brad Keselowski will not participate in Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session from Phoenix Raceway, per a statement from RFK Racing, as he travels home to be with his wife, Paige, as she gives birth to the couple’s third child.
Cole Custer, one of the four drivers set to fight for the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship on Saturday evening, will qualify the No. 6 Castrol Edge Ford Mustang in place of Keselowski, who is expected to return to Phoenix for Sunday’s 312-lap contest.
“Brad Keselowski will not qualify the No. 6 car today, due to his wife, Paige, going into labor,” reads a statement from RFK Racing. “In place of him, Cole Custer will qualify the car later this afternoon. The expectation is that Brad will return to Phoenix Sunday to drive the No. 6 in the NASCAR Cup Series Race.”
Custer, who drives the No. 00 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, has some previous experience in the NextGen car, after competing full-time at NASCAR’s top level last season in the No. 41 for Stewart-Haas Racing.
During Friday’s 50-minute practice session from the one-mile facility, Keselowski placed the No. 6 Ford Mustang inside the top-10 on the speed charts, after running a total of 62 laps on-track.
However, as a result of this driver swap for qualifying, Keselowski will be required to start at the rear of the pack for Sunday’s Cup Series event at Phoenix Raceway – should he indeed return to compete in the event.