This Week in Ford Racing May 3, 2005 NASCAR Busch Series Jason Keller, driver of the No. 35 Ford, will race in is native state of South Carolina this weekend looking to capture an elusive victory at Darlington Raceway. Keller, who has a...
This Week in Ford Racing
May 3, 2005
NASCAR Busch Series
Jason Keller, driver of the No. 35 Ford, will race in is native state of South Carolina this weekend looking to capture an elusive victory at Darlington Raceway. Keller, who has a second-place finish to his credit at the egg-shaped track, shared his thoughts on the inaugural Busch Series race under the lights at Darlington and the trend of scheduling more primetime events.
JASON KELLER-35-McDonald's Ford Taurus
WHERE WOULD A WIN AT DARLINGTON RANK IN YOUR CAREER? "It would be right there one or two on the list. People say it's a hometown track for me. It's not really a hometown track, but it is very special in that any time that people compare me in the state of South Carolina - there's not a whole lot of South Carolina natives out here - but with Darlington being the South Carolina race track and kind of the symbol of NASCAR racing in South Carolina it would be extremely special. I've had some good runs there, but I've never really been able to contend for the win there. It'd be huge, and I don't know any other way to describe it."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT RACING AT DARLINGTON UNDER THE LIGHTS? "I think it's going to be great. I think it's going to be great for the fans. Night races, they just seem faster under the lights with the glitz and the sparkle of the cars; they just seem faster and more exciting. I think it's going to give the fans a new look and it's going to give the drivers a new look as well."
WHAT IS THAT NEW LOOK THAT YOU EXPECT AS A DRIVER? "I think we typically always go down there and they typically have the same image in their head. The cars are going to be fast for a couple of laps and then they're going to start sliding around, but until you see cars race under the lights at night, it's just different. We race in the daytime at Bristol one time a year and then we race at night. The night races just seem different; they're more exciting. I don't know if it's just because a lot of us grew up on the Saturday night short tracks and that's kind of getting us back to our roots, but I think that makes us feel a little more comfortable, too."
WITH THE UNIQUE SHAPE OF DARLINGTON, DO YOU EXPECT THERE TO BE ANY ISSUES WITH THE LIGHTING? "I think the lighting is so now that as far as seeing the groove and us knowing what we need, I don't foresee any problems because you're not racing under the lights like we used to race Saturday nights. Here, as far as the race track is concerned, I don't think it will be a problem at all."
WILL THE TRACK CHARACTERISTICS CHANGE AT ALL RACING AT NIGHT? "No, it will still wear tires out as soon as you leave pit road. As soon as you leave pit road you're going to be on wore out tires."
THIS WEEKEND'S RACE WILL MARK THE SECOND NIGHT RACE IN THREE WEEKS. THERE SEEMS TO BE A TREND TO HAVING MORE NIGHT RACES. ARE YOU IN FAVOR OF HAVING MORE NIGHT RACES ON THE SCHEDULE? "I don't mind it, and a lot of people are busy during the day. I know on a pretty Saturday afternoon I'm not so sure I'd want to sit down and take two or three hours of my day just to watch a race when I can be mowing the lawn or playing with my kids. From that respect, I like the primetime TV audience. Maybe some people will watch TV and watch the NASCAR Busch Series and get excited about it because they're typically too busy during the day."
ARE THERE ANY FEARS THAT FRIDAY NIGHT RACES MIGHT TAKE AWAY FROM THE ATTENDANCE AT A RACE TRACK? "I don't know what the numbers were from Phoenix in terms of attendance, but a lot of these people now usually plan their whole weekend around a race. Hopefully it won't take many of the fans away in that respect and hopefully it just adds more on TV. I think TV is where we can really grow the fan base for the Busch Series."