Brian Keselowski is expected to undergo gallbladder surgery as early as Thursday evening after the driver was rushed to the hospital Tuesday with what was described as "severe abdominal pain," his K-Automotive Motorsports team said.
Keselowski was "diagnosed with a severe case of gallstones," according to the team, and medication to relieve the pain is not helping.
The surgery would put Keselowski – vying for Sprint Cup rookie of the year honors – out of his car for two or three weeks, the team said. Dennis Setzer will attempt to qualify the No. 92 car at Bristol.
Keselowski was described by the team as bending over in pain and begging doctors to remove his gallbladder, saying "Get this thing out of me."
"I just want this thing out of me so I can get back in my car and race," he said.
The surgery would be done as an outpatient procedure.
Keselowski was one of the best stories of Daytona Speedweeks after he qualified his under-powered car into the Daytona 500. But since then, Keselowski hasn't made a race – missing both the events at Phoenix and Las Vegas.
The team said well-wishes can be sent to Keselowski at K-Automotive Motorsports: 2668 Peachtree Rd., Statesville, NC, 28625.