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Keselowski looking to lend hand in No. 22 search

August 04, 2012, Seth Livingstone, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Penske Racing driver wants similar pairing to relationship with Kurt Busch

LONG POND, Pa. -- Brad Keselowski has three Sprint Cup wins for Roger Penske this season.

He also hopes he has his boss's ear when it comes to finding a replacement for recently-dismissed teammate AJ Allmendinger.

"I hope that we can secure a teammate that is an elite talent that I can work with -- and certainly some of that responsibility is mine to communicate," Keselowski said following a disappointing qualifying run that left him 31st for Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. "I think that's something that Mr. Penske takes very seriously."

Keselowski, currently ninth in the point standings, wants to be part of the decision-making process. Last season's pairing with Kurt Busch demonstrated to him how important positive give-and-take with a teammate can be. Both he and Busch qualified for the Chase, finishing fifth and 11th, respectively.

"I told Roger from Day One, when I came to Penske Racing, I didn't want to be just a driver," Keselowski said. "I wanted to be part of a team and part of making Penske Racing as strong as possible. [A replacement for Allmendinger] is something we've discussed. But I can't say that we've come up with an answer."

For now, Sam Hornish Jr. -- doing double duty in the Nationwide race at Iowa and at Pocono this weekend -- is behind the wheel of the No. 22 car. Allmendinger was released by Penske after being suspended by NASCAR on July 7 for failing a random drug test.

Keselowski admits he misses the expertise of having a past series champion as a teammate.

"I think Kurt and I, last year, had a great relationship that showed on-track results," Keselowski said. "There are a lot of times when I look back and think what a good pairing we were together and wish that some things would have worked out a little bit differently. But that is the past and things are where they are.

"Along those lines, that was just starting to develop with AJ. Only time would tell how successful we would have been together but, again, that is a road passed. Now, the key is looking forward to try to find another situation like what we had with Kurt that led to two very successful teams."