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NASCAR: Australian Owen Kelly to make Sprint Cup debut at Watkins Glen

Australian Owen Kelly will get a chance to make his Sprint Cup debut, next month at Watkins Glen, having signed a one-race deal with Phoenix Racing.

Kelly, a long-time friend of regular Sprint Cup driver Marcos Ambrose, beat a number of drivers to the seat, including veterans Robby Gordon and Jacques Villeneuve. Kelly's experience in Nationwide and V8 Supercar helped the 36-year-old prevail, according to Nick Harrison, the crew chief of the No. 51 Chevrolet Kelly will get into.

"We had Jacques Villeneuve in our car at Sonoma this year and had Robby Gordon as an option," said Harrison. "But we believe Owen is the best option for us.

"Because of his V8 Supercar experience and his Nationwide drives, Owen is used to the weight and power of these cars."

Kelly has started two races in Nationwide. In 2010, he qualified ninth and finish fifth in his first race, at Road America. Earlier this year, he finished fourth again at Road America, despite running out of fuel.

The Tasmanian will go back to Nationwide with Joe Gibbs Racing after Watkins Glen.

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Owen Kelly
Owen Kelly at Road America (Photo: Toyota Racing)