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Ricky Carmichael to make 2011 Nationwide Series debut at Road America

Ricky Carmichael
Ricky Carmichael

Ricky Carmichael will make his 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in Turner Motorsports' No. 30 Monster Energy Chevrolet Impala in the Bucyrus 200 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., next weekend. 

In addition to his duty at the division's second-annual stop at the at the famed 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course, the 31-year-old driver will also pilot the No. 30 Monster Energy-sponsored entry at Daytona International Speedway on July 1, Richmond International Raceway on September 9 and at Phoenix International Raceway on November 12.

Veteran Turner Motorsports crew chief Stewart Cooper will call the shots for Carmichael's debut in the No. 30 machine.

The 15-time American Motocross Association champion made his first career Nationwide Series start last October at Kansas Speedway, where he started 12th and finished 18th. In four NNS races last season, Carmichael earned one top-20 finish, logged a 26.8 average start, a 26.2 average finish and completed 83 percent of the laps run over those four starts.

The Bucyrus 200 will mark his first road course race in Nationwide Series competition. In two NASCAR Camping World East Series road course races in 2008, Carmichael finished ninth and 12th, respectively at Watkins Glen International and Lime Rock Speedway.

"I'm obviously excited about running more Nationwide Series races with Monster Energy and Turner Motorsports," Carmichael said. "Steve Turner is one of my biggest supporters and has given me a tremendous opportunity. The biggest thing I'm looking for out of these four races is seat time. My goal is to move up and race in the Nationwide Series full time so this is a great chance for me to get some track time and better familiarize myself with the car. It is going to be a fun four races and hopefully we'll have some good runs in the No. 30 Monster Energy Chevy."

Carmichael is currently in his third season overall and second full-time, competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In 52 Truck Series' starts, the Tallahassee, Fla., resident has earned three top-five and 14 top-10 finishes, led 38 laps and is currently 12th in points. He finished sixth in the division's most recent stop at Texas Motor Speedway.

"Ricky has an incredible upside and we want to give him every opportunity to move up to the next level," explained Turner Motorsports owner Steve Turner. "I think a lot of people forget that Ricky hadn't driven anything like a stock car until four years ago and he's competing at a very high level against drivers who are much more experienced in this particular discipline of racing. We knew from the very beginning that Ricky's learning curve would be steep but we also have a great deal of confidence in him. I expect him to rise to the occasion with this program."