BUSCH: Ford - Jason Keller interview

This Week in Ford Racing NASCAR Busch Series With five races to go in the NASCAR Busch Series season, Jason Keller, driver of the No. 57 Albertsons Ford, has only one place to go - up. Keller is currently fifth in the NASCAR Busch Series point...

This Week in Ford Racing

NASCAR Busch Series

With five races to go in the NASCAR Busch Series season, Jason Keller, driver of the No. 57 Albertsons Ford, has only one place to go - up. Keller is currently fifth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings with 80 points separating him from the top spot, while outpacing sixth-place Bobby Hamilton, Jr. by 195 points heading into this weekend's Sam's Town 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park. Keller spoke about being a contender in the points race for the fourth consecutive year and how this year differs from previous ones.

JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus

THE POINTS SYSTEM HAS BEEN A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION IN THE WINSTON CUP GARAGE THIS YEAR, BUT THERE ARE FIVE DRIVERS WITHIN 80 POINTS OF EACH OTHER IN THE BUSCH SERIES. DOES THE POINTS SYSTEM NEED TO BE REEVALUATED?

"There have been so many good points battle with the way the current system is I don't know why you would change it. It seems like you have one driver and one team in the Winston Cup Series that has its act together, and if you look at it, they're the only driver-team to have the consistency in all of NASCAR, Winston Cup or Busch. The second-place points guy in Winston Cup has just about the same amount of points as we do. He would be comparable to our season as far as finishes. There have been great points battles all throughout the years and just because one team has its act together doesn't mean that you need to change everything. This is the best points battle in history in the Busch Series. There's never been a points system that's only rewarded wins. The championship has always been awarded on consistency."

DO YOU EXPECT THE COMPETITORS TO START GIVING YOU MORE SLACK ON THE RACE TRACK WITH THE STATE OF THE POINTS RACE?

"I haven't noticed anybody giving us anything. There are guys racing for their jobs and sponsors just like we are. Everybody is racing as hard as they can. Even if you're not one of the guys in the top-10, there are guys racing to finish in the top-10 in points. There are so many smaller battles in the series that I haven't noticed anybody giving us any slack."

HOW DO YOU AVOID LETTING THE TALK ABOUT THE POINTS RACE BECOME A DISTRACTION?

"I just block it out. When I get in that race car, I make myself focus on my race car. I just block it out. It's a natural question to ask; I don't mind people asking it. It's a natural question. I hope it comes down to the wire. I hope we are all neck and neck going into Homestead because it would be a good story. I've said all year that I'm only going to worry about the things that I can control."

YOU ARE CURRENTLY FIFTH IN POINT STANDINGS, BUT YOU WERE LEADING EARLIER IN THE YEAR. WITH THE POINTS RACE BEGIN AS CLOSE AS IT IS, WOULD YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE LEADING OR STALKING THE LEADERS?

"With five guys all in the hunt for the championship it doesn't really matter. There are just 80 points separating the top-five and as long as you're in the mix heading into Homestead that's all that matters. I don't think about the points race during the race. I focus on trying to finish the best we possibly can and I think that is because you can't focus on what four other guys are doing. Two years ago I was racing Harvick down the stretch and last year I was racing Biffle head to head, and you could keep up on what each was doing. With five of us it really takes the focus off of what the other people are doing because you can't focus on all four of them and still worry about what you're doing. I'm just focused on our car, and it wouldn't really matter to me if I had a 100-point lead or was behind 100. As long as I know that our car is the best it can possibly be and we continue to try to make it better and better every week and maximize our car every week, we can't control the points."

IF THE CHAMPIONSHIP COMES DOWN TO THE LAST RACE OF THE YEAR AND IT'S BETWEEN YOU AND SCOTT RIGGS, WILL YOU RACE HIM ANY DIFFERENT?

"I'll try my best to beat him to be honest. I don't foresee racing Scott any different at that point than I race anybody. There are so many scenarios that can play out in this deal with five guys in the mix. I don't think you can win it right now with five races to go and everyone being within 80 points, but I think you can lose it right now. I was in that situation last year going into the last part of the season and we lost our opportunity to win. With about five races to go we never could get it back. If Scott and I have to go head to head at the race in Homestead, and I hope that's the scenario that it comes to, and we'll battle it out and settle it among ourselves. Whatever that scenario is, I just hope I'm a part of it and that I'm a big part of it."

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Jason Keller