Momentum Continues as CJM Racing Tallies Their Second Top-10 Finish of the Season
Sparta, KY. -- The NASCAR Nationwide series regulars once again had an opportunity to make some forward momentum as the series headed to Kentucky Speedway for their second consecutive stand-alone event in this stretch of the schedule. 44 entries with only five Cup regulars gave Keller a chance to shine and that's just what the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team did. They unloaded with a fast car; ran fifth in practice, started on the front row in the second position, led 22 laps and finished out the evening in the 10th position. The team's second top-10 finish of the season.
Teams entered Kentucky Speedway late Friday morning in hopes of getting two practice sessions in to prepare for Saturday evening's race. Unfortunately a weather system moved into the area and rain fell on the mile-and-a-half facility. NASCAR opted to call it a day and close the garage area earlier. The schedule was adjusted for Saturday and an hour and a half practice session would commence Saturday morning followed by qualifying and the Meijer 300 later that evening.
During practice Keller was posted as the seventh quickest car right from the start. A concern over the motor soon became priority as Keller reported in, "the motor is skipping down the backstretch." The team worked feverishly to determine what was plaguing the America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet. A faulty fuel line was located and replaced. Keller went on to post the fifth quickest time at 30.965 seconds, 174.390 mph by the end of the session.
Qualifying followed later that afternoon and Keller was the 16th car to hit the oval-shaped Speedway. The No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet was fast and would start the Meijer 300 from the front row in the second position.
As day turned into night, the excitement began to build and the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team readied themselves for an exciting night of racing.
Keller was strong from the start as he battled pole sitter Logano in the opening laps. A caution flag on lap 11 would give Keller the opportunity he needed to get out front. Restarting in the second position, Keller made an aggressive maneuver around Logano and took the lead. The No. 11 led the field for 22 laps until a tight handling condition began to plague the race car and Keller fell two position's to third.
The first pit stop of the evening occurred under green flag conditions on lap 57. The No. 11 machine received four tires, fuel, a track bar and air pressure adjustment to help with the tight handling condition. Back out on the track, Keller was displayed in the seventh position on lap 64.
A tight handling race car continued to wreak havoc on the America's Incredible Pizza Company machine as the night went on. Keller did the best he could with the conditions and maintained a strong position in the top-10.
Three more pit stops occurred on laps 81, 136 and 165 with aggressive changes including air pressure, wedge, track bar and a rubber in the right rear.
The handling woes slowly diminished and Keller soon turned his 12th place running position on lap 143 into a top-10 finish on the final lap.
"Our car handled so much better in clean air. Those restarts with the lap down cars really affected the handling of the America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevy tonight. We did all we could to get things straightened out and I'm happy with the top-10 finish. Our mile-and-a-half program is really coming together and the car was strong when the handling came around for us." Keller explained.