New tire at Dover could be bonus for title contender Jason Keller. CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Jason Keller often looks up from his office desk at a photo of the No. 57 taking the checkered flag at Dover International Speedway after passing Mark Martin...
New tire at Dover could be bonus for title contender Jason Keller.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Jason Keller often looks up from his office desk at a photo of the No. 57 taking the checkered flag at Dover International Speedway after passing Mark Martin for the win. As he recalls his most memorable win, he scratches his head wondering why his ppc Racing team has struggled so much in the past three races when they seemed to have it all figured out just two years ago.
"It is very disappointing to go to Dover and struggle," said Keller. "I've sat on the pole, I've won a race and I know how to drive around the track. I think I've been trying too hard to get the car to feel like it did in 2000, but so much has changed since then. Goodyear changed the tire we ran and the team changed manufacturers which has dramatically changed the downforce on the car.
"Ford has been a tremendous help in the transitions, but I can't seem to get a grasp on Dover. Goodyear is bringing a softer tire this weekend that will give the car a whole new feel. I'm confident we can take what we have learned in the past three races and get back to the level of competition where we are contending for the win."
Keller and long-time crew chief Steve Addington have sat down on numerous occasions to figure out the mystery of Dover. Keller and Addington are having a career season and are determined not to let Dover stand in the way of their success.
"I wish I knew why we have struggled so much," said Addington. "I don't think it is just one thing. Jason hasn't been able to get a feel for the track and we've gone to every extreme trying to help him. The car is either way too loose or way too tight for him, we just haven't found that happy medium.
"I think we've developed a great set up heading into this weekend's race. I've looked over our notes from the past, received input from Jason and truly believe we can get the Albertsons Ford back in victory lane."
Keller and the Albertsons team had a car that could have finished in the top 10 in Dover in the spring, but a late-race incident relegated them to a 28th-place finish. Keller knows the team cannot afford another finish like that and still remain in contention for the championship.
"Right now each and every race is important to the title chase," said Keller. "From the beginning of the season I knew the championship would come down to the team that makes the fewest mistakes in the final stretch. My team knows that and the No. 60 team knows that."
Keller captured a season best 15th top-five finish at Richmond two weeks ago in his quest for the NASCAR Busch Series championship. A win a Dover would guarantee a few points in the title chase and serve as a hard fought victory over Dover's tough racing surface.
"When we head to Dover, we need to know in our hearts and minds that we can be successful," said Keller. "This Albertsons team has prepared amazing cars for me all season long and this weekend will be no different. If we can get back to victory lane and continue to run up front every week, the championship will take care of itself."