Two Men, Same Two Goals-- South Carolina natives Jason Keller and Steve Addington have accomplished many of the goals they set out to accomplish 15 years ago. They've won races, continue to be competitive, enjoy their jobs and remain friends. As...
Two Men, Same Two Goals-- South Carolina natives Jason Keller and Steve Addington have accomplished many of the goals they set out to accomplish 15 years ago. They've won races, continue to be competitive, enjoy their jobs and remain friends. As the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series season enters into its final 10 races, they are faced with the two goals that have eluded them in the past - a win at Darlington Raceway and the NASCAR Busch Series championship.
"It's fair to say that a win at Darlington would mean more to me than winning at any other track on the circuit," said Keller. "I go to Darlington with an open mind and a lot of confidence. Although I haven't won there, it really boosts my confidence knowing that people recognize me because they've been following my career since my short track days and they know how special it would be to keep the Darlington trophy in South Carolina."
"I want to win every time we go to the track," said Addington, crew chief of the No. 57 Albertsons Ford. "A win at Darlington would definitely mean the world to me, Jason and the entire race team. We've come close to victory lane a couple of times at Darlington and that's often harder to swallow than running bad. To run well at Darlington means the entire team did what they needed to do. Last year and even the spring race we had the chassis set up well, the pit crew performed great and Jason was extremely patient and did a great job on tire management."
Keller and Addington have finished in the top five in the championship race for three consecutive years, and were in a similar situation last year heading into Darlington. They currently sit fourth in the standing, 104 points behind the leader.
"This team is not giving up," said Addington. "We know that we have a team very capable of winning the championship. We have to buckle down from top to bottom and concentrate on the races one at a time. We have to run better at the tracks that we have been successful at, and that includes this weekend at Darlington. We had a great stretch of seven races and need to get back in that groove. I can promise you that this team will not stop trying or give up until the checkered flag waves at Homestead."
"There is still a ton of racing left in the season," said Keller. "As a driver and a team we don't need to overanalyze the situation. We need to go out every week and do what we all know we are capable of accomplishing, and that's winning races."
How to be successful at Darlington-- Keller has six consecutive top-10 finishes as Darlington and looks to capture his first win this weekend. While drivers either love it or hate it, Keller has learned a lot about the "Lady in Black" in his 20 starts.
"One of the first races I was in at Darlington I went a lap down extremely early," said Keller. "Then I got behind Harry Gant and Robert Pressley and followed them around for the remainder of the race. That was the best lesson I could have got at Darlington. We all know that the chassis has to be perfect and you need to be able to manage your tires, but an experience like that is priceless."