BUSCH: Jason Keller Daytona preview

BOISE, IDAHO --- Jason Keller and the No. 57 Albertson's Ford will be packing three things for the trip to Daytona: momentum, consistency and determination. Keller and the No. 57 team, who finished second in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand...

BOISE, IDAHO --- Jason Keller and the No. 57 Albertson's Ford will be packing three things for the trip to Daytona: momentum, consistency and determination.

Keller and the No. 57 team, who finished second in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division standings last year, are looking to build on their success from the last half of the 2000 season. During the final 16 races of 2000, Keller captured nine of his 13 top fives and only finished out of the top 15 once.

"We had a great second half last year," said Keller. "Despite the fact that we weren't really contending for the championship, this team pulled together and we were consistently finishing in the top five. To be honest, I would have loved it if we could have just kept racing and the 2001 season began immediately because we were on a roll. We had a successful 2000 season and plan on carrying that momentum with us to Daytona."

Part of the success that Keller and ppc Racing have achieved comes from consistency within the team. As Keller begins his fourth season with ppc Racing team owner Greg Pollex, many of the faces that surrounded him in 1998 are with him today.

"I've been working with some of the guys on this team since I came to drive for Pollex," said Keller. "It's a comfort heading to a track like Daytona, with all the high expectations and pressure that surrounds it, knowing the guys that are going over the wall are the same ones who helped me to my career best season just three months ago.

"Daytona is a mentally challenging track. When I am preparing to go out and drive 200 mph with 42 other guys, my mind is at ease because I trust and believe in the guys that build my race cars for me. That confidence only comes with time."

The Albertson's Racing team is confident going into the 2001 season. They worked hard in the off-season, determined to improve upon their second-place finish in the points standings. The ppc Racing team has made some big changes heading into the 2001 season including a new sponsor and a new make of car. Albertson's, one of largest food and drug retailers in the country, signed an agreement to sponsor Keller and the No.57 for two years and Ford came aboard, increasing the manufacturers' presence in the Busch Series. "It is definitely an advantage to have a multi-year contract with Albertson's," said Keller. "It gives me, the team and the owners the ability to just concentrate on racing and winning. We were fortunate to sign Albertson's in October, so during the off-season we could focus on testing and building winning cars. "I am equally excited about being part of the Ford family. Everyone questioned why ppc Racing switched to Ford when we finished one and two in the points. I think you will see why when we cross the stripe at Daytona. Ford has really stepped up to the plate for us and given our teams a tremendous amount of guidance, wind-tunnel time and personal attention. Everyone knows what they have accomplished in the Winston Cup series and I plan on duplicating their success in the Busch Series." As the 2001 season begins, Keller and the Albertson's Racing team know what they have to do to contend for the championship. For them to continue where they left off last season will certainly bring success.

-Heather Kincel

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller