Keselowski's aggressive style will temper over time

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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

As I'm sure you've read by now, Brad Keselowski is replacing David Stremme in the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge starting this weekend. This is one of those things where you have to say: Why not? Keselowski has an opportunity right now to get additional Sprint Cup Series experience and work with the team he was going to drive for beginning in 2010. This move makes good sense and it's too good to pass up on.

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Now, with Keselowski making his full-time move to Cup earlier than planned, we are probably going to hear more and more about him being "too aggressive" on the racetrack. I can see where certain people can say that, and I think that is something that will be addressed now that he is up racing in the Cup Series on a regular basis. A lot of drivers go through this and have a phase where they are characterized as being overzealous. I think it's easy to get caught up in the moment as you try to prove to everybody that you belong to the point where you get yourself in trouble. Maturity will help temper some of that — and that'll come as he gets more time on the track. And let's face it, he's not the only young driver that's been accused of this. Similar issues have come up with Kyle Busch, Keselowski's new Penske teammate Kurt Busch, and many others had a period where they have been too aggressive as well. It's all relative to the youth and experience that is in front of him right now — he's excited to be here and he wants to race with these guys. Folks, this is only the beginning. As we saw last week when Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Steve Addington would be replaced as Kyle Busch's crew chief, teams are starting to shake things up in order to get results for the future — and we'll see more of it between now and the end of the year. Everybody understands that if you want to beat Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, you are going to have to change your game and/or team because nobody has been able to do it with their current combination in the last three years, and now is the time to make necessary changes. Team owners have the opportunity to treat the final three weeks as big test sessions where everything gets evaluated and they can mess around with the formula in the hopes of finding the right mix. Of course, this is unfortunate news for Stremme. I know he wants to race, but at the same time it really comes down to Roger Penske and his organization looking at the big picture. I'm sure if another organization has a need for somebody with experience, Stremme is now available for the final three races of the season — which gives him an opportunity to experiment and look around for a ride for next year. Who knows? Maybe the chemistry wasn't there for Stremme at the No. 12 team and a fresh start could allow him to showcase his talents. Look at the situation with Bobby Labonte. Every time he got taken out of the No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing ride and he jumps into the No. 71 TRG car it's like he's a different driver — and he's gotten better results when he's in the No. 71 so far this year. Sometimes changing rides, even in the middle or end of the season, can prove to be very beneficial for both the driver and team.

FOX race analyst Jeff Hammond led Darrell Waltrip to two of DW's three Winston Cup championships as his crew chief. They also teamed to win the 1989 Daytona 500.

For autographed copies of Jeff Hammond's book "Real Men Work in the Pits" plus magnets, hats and more, check out www.dwstore.com.

For photos and appearances, visit Jeff's web site www.jeffhammond.com.

Tagged: Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Kyle Busch, David Stremme, Brad Keselowski

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