BUSCH: Richmond II: Jason Keller preview

Jason Keller's seventh-place finish at Darlington Raceway last weekend closed the gap in the NASCAR Busch Series championship standings. The top five contenders are separated by just 79 points with Keller sitting fourth, 70 points behind the ...

Jason Keller's seventh-place finish at Darlington Raceway last weekend closed the gap in the NASCAR Busch Series championship standings. The top five contenders are separated by just 79 points with Keller sitting fourth, 70 points behind the leader.

In 19 starts at Richmond, Keller has one win, two poles, five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.

On Richmond and the championship--

Keller has seen tremendous success at Richmond including two poles and his win in May of 2002. He amassed two top-five finishes last year and had high hopes for this season. He was on his way to a successful run earlier this season after capturing the outside pole, but three separate incidents kept him from achieving his second win at the short track. The team is on a high after last weekend's top-10 finish inched them closer in the championship standings and are looking forward to getting back into victory lane this weekend.

"I'm excited about returning to Richmond after the disappointing finish there in the spring," said Keller. "After you've won a race and had success at a track you expect to run well every time you return. Richmond is the kind of track that you can have fun with during a race. It has more than one groove so you can pass cars anywhere on the track. It also means the fastest and best cars can charge to the front and not get stuck behind slower cars or lapped traffic. I have one goal in mind and that is returning to victory lane this weekend to redeem ourselves."

"We need to build on last weekend to continue the battle for the championship and the only way to guarantee a points gain is to win. Last year it was just Greg (Biffle) and I still in the hunt for the title with nine races to go. I would find myself worried about what he is doing instead of what I needed to be doing. Now there are five guys in this title hunt and it is actually better for me and the team mentally. I can't worry about four other teams and drivers because at least one person is going to be dead-on every race. Last weekend was Brian's (Vickers) weekend, I had a solid finish but the other three struggled. If you try to focus on every team, you will drive yourself insane and lose focus."

Overcoming Adversity--

Keller hit the wall twice last weekend on Friday at Darlington. The Albertsons team pulled together in extreme heat and circumstances to prepare a car that finished seventh.

"It was a great team day at Darlington," said Keller. "I don't think I have ever been more proud of my guys. It is those efforts that we can build on. I really went for it in qualifying and didn't quite make it, but I don't have an excuse for hitting the wall in the final practice. The amazing thing about the team is they never got mad at me or got discouraged. Some of the guys came down from the shop on their day off to help get the car prepared and the entire effort made me want to drive harder. Even during the race the over-the-wall guys turned great stops that moved us up every time I came down pit road despite the extreme heat. That was the kind of weekend that separates a championship team from the rest of the field."

Meet Keller--

Keller will be making an appearance at the Busch Party Zone at Richmond on Friday night. He is scheduled to sign autograph from 4:15-4:45 p.m.

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller