JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Finished 1st) "Everything went as planned. We were close here last year and we ran a lot of the same setup that we ran last year. With limited practice, we really just had to go off of what we leaned...
JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Finished 1st)
"Everything went as planned. We were close here last year and we ran a lot of the same setup that we ran last year. With limited practice, we really just had to go off of what we leaned last year. I really thought that I was saving a little bit for those last little bit of laps, but sometimes you fool yourself when you go to use it and it's not there. I'm just fortunate that I saved enough there at the end and was able to pull away. I have to commend the guys. I've been beating them up pretty bad on pit road. We actually gained a position on pit road today and never lost one. It's all coming together, but we just have to keep doing this week after week."
"I was kinda thinking about that. Biffle and I had so many good races and this was one of them. Then I got in there racing with Scott. Man, I was nervous. I'm fairly calm in my race car, but I was nervous racing my teammate like that for the lead. I didn't want to slip and take us both out and then get fired and everything else. It was real nerve-wracking there, but I knew I had a better race car, but I just couldn't go up there and drive by him because I didn't want to rough him up. What that was allowing to happen, the 5 was catching us, too. I kind of had him in my sights as well. I wanted to get by the 10 as quick as we could. The 10 gave me a lot of racing room. He didn't crowd me at all. We want to race each other hard on the race track, but, man, that's the first time that I've ever had to battle my teammate like that for the win. It was pretty nerve-wracking."
"The owner never got on the radio. The owner didn't have to get on the radio. I knew that if I slipped I'd really mess up. He respects us and knows that we're out for the race team and we want to race as hard as we could. I knew I had a good race car, so I was going for the win, and luckily we didn't even touch. I would have felt bad even if we would have touched a little bit."
"I don't think it (fuel) was a factor. They didn't give me enough information to make me worry, which is a good thing. I did ask them in Victory Lane how many laps could we have gone, and they said we could have gone to about 258; we could have gone eight more laps. It wasn't a factor, but on the cautions I definitely had it in high gear and was just lugging around there and wasn't giving it any gas. Steve (Addington) came on the radio and asked me there with about to 20 to go on that caution and asked me if I could hold them off. I told him I could hold them off as long as they don't have fresh tires. I did ask , 'As long as we were OK on fuel,' and he didn't say anything, so I knew we were pretty close, but it worked out for us. I was waiting for it to cut off or run out of gas with the way our luck has been. It just worked out for us."
"It's such a relief (to win). I think our turnaround started at Nashville although we had mechanical problems. But I think our turnaround has actually been the last three weeks. I knew that if we started running consistently in the top five that we could get a win. A lot of people had high hopes for us this year and high expectations, and it's kind of hard to live up to those sometimes. We definitely wanted to get a win and get back on track. I really, really felt that we had a good race car yesterday in Happy Hour, but I actually thought there was a couple better than we were. Steve, my crew chief, made some good changes. This isn't a one-person deal. You have to have a lot of people involved and I'm really glad that we had good pit stops and all of the calls were good. I can't take all of the credit because it was a team effort today."
"I'm not so sure this place is really weather sensitive because it's going to be slick if it's 30 degrees or 100 degrees. This place is really, really slick. It's flat and no banking, so really what we learned last year, although it was probably 20 degrees hotter last year, really went right on what we had this year. We fine-tuned a little bit. We have a little bit different tire this year, a little bit different construction. We didn't put the same exact setup, but we had a good baseline anyway."
"I actually saw that coming 10 laps before I really started pushing him. He was driving the wheels off that thing. I was being conservative with my hotrod. I could see him getting tighter and tighter and just waited on time to go. I was really, really hoping not to have a caution and maybe he and I could get a one-two finish. It didn't work out. He was running me hard. We were running the wheels off those things. It was fun. And then I saw the 5 kinda inching up on us, too, as we got back there battling. You want to come and be competitive and we were competitive all day. We just kinda waited there at end and it worked out."
"I think Scott had a little bit tighter setup than we had. We really freed our car up there at the end. It wasn't like he was trying to let me by. H was battling hard. He had everything he had hung out and it worked out really good."
"Things are just going our way a little bit right now. We battled for the win at Kentucky. We battled hard there, but I keep going back to Nashville because we ran good at Nashville. I really honestly feel like we had a great race car there. For three weeks in a row, we've run well, and that's what we need - consistency. Nothing has changed. Our communication is the same. We're running the same now as we were battling to finish 10th. Good race teams just seem to find their ways out of slumps. Steve, if he's changed something on the race car, he hasn't told me. We're still doing the same thing and everything is working out good. In this day and age, you don't have to be off far to get yourself behind. Our pit stops haven't been bad this year, but they haven't' been able to keep us up where we've been running. We'd come in and lose a position or two. Today, the first stop we went out the same, and the second stop we gained a position. That's what it takes in a worse-case scenario, to go back out the same position you went in. The guys are getting better on pit road and that's just coming with time. We knew it was going to take time and luckily we haven't got ourselves so far behind that we can't dig ourselves out of this hole. I hope everyone forgets about us. I hope they say that we're out of this deal, and we'll sneak up on them. We're kinda doing the Biffle strategy. Biffle at mid-season was really far behind. I laugh because he and I tested together at Chicago a couple of days ago and we laughed about that I was going to sneak up on them like he did last year and have a good second half of the season. Hopefully we do that. Hopefully he had premonition of things to come."
"I just wasn't going to drive up there and take advantage of him and beat and bang on him. We were giving each other a lot of room off of the corners and getting into the corners so not to do anything crazy. I just wanted to get up there before the 5 car got to us. I haven't talked to my owner a lot about it. I want to get his play-by-play on what he was feeling about it. I'm sure he was a little it more emotional about it than I was. I was nervous. I wasn't really nervous about battling for the win; I was nervous about battling my teammate. I didn't want to do anything crazy and hurt us both."