Keller and CJM Racing Overcome Many Obstacles to Finish 26th at Loudon (June 30, 2007) Loudon, N.H. GPg PR -- Jason Keller and the Dutch Quality Stone team had a day filled with ups and downs. The team had strong momentum coming into the...
Keller and CJM Racing Overcome Many Obstacles to Finish 26th at Loudon
(June 30, 2007) Loudon, N.H. GPg PR -- Jason Keller and the Dutch Quality Stone team had a day filled with ups and downs. The team had strong momentum coming into the event and looked like a top contender until an ignition box issue and a faltering pit stop relegated the team to a 26th place finish by the day's end.
CJM Racing unloaded chassis # 03 when the team arrived at the track Thursday afternoon for technical inspection. This chassis would see it's first track time ever when practice got underway Friday morning. The car would not disappoint as the No. 11 Dutch Quality Stone Chevrolet turned the seventh quickest lap time in final practice. Keller's fast time placed him as the top "Busch regular" as the top-six consisted of NEXTEL Cup regulars.
Starting from the 20th position, a motor concern quickly became apparent on lap two as Keller reported in, "the motor is skipping at the end of the straight-aways." Crew chief Todd Gordon radioed Keller and requested he switch over to the secondary ignition box. The motor problem continued but would not affect Keller's performance as he continued to maneuver his way through the field.
Keller found himself tangled up in an on-track accident on lap 17 that caused slight damage to the left front fender. As the caution flag flew, the No. 11 Dutch Quality Stone Chevrolet was brought down pit road for fresh tires, fuel and repairs to the front end. Keller resumed the race in the 37th position and once again began his quest to the front of the pack.
When the caution flag flew again on lap 37, the leaders entered pit road which credited the No. 11 machine with the top position. Keller went on to lead the field for five laps before the cars with fresher tires would push him back a few spots to run in the 11th position. Jason continued to run up in the top-15 until a loose wheel would plague him on lap 117.
With no other options, Keller was forced to bring the No. 11 Dutch Quality Stone Chevy down pit road under green flag conditions for new tires on lap 120. The unscheduled pit stop placed Keller two laps down and running in the 30th position.
Back out on track, Keller reported in, "get another tire ready for me" just 20 laps into the run. With a loose wheel becoming a concern again, the No. 11 returned to pit road for fresh tires and fuel. The wheel was examined and it was determined that the studs were stripped from the previous situation causing problems in the handling of the race car.
Despite the situation at hand, Keller never gave up and did his best to gain as many spots as possible. At the end of the day the No.11 CJM Racing team was credited with a 26th place finish.
"We were trying to win this race with some pit strategy but unfortunately an issue with the front tire would not give us the capability to contend for the win. We battled all day. But I felt like periodically, at times during the race we were definitely competitive," remarked Keller.
At the conclusion of the race, Keller and the Dutch Quality Stone team were awarded the WIX Filters lap leader of the race for laps 38 through 42.