Charlotte: Jason Keller race report

(May 24, 2008) Concord, NC -- CJM Racing headed into Lowe's Motor Speedway with a different strategy than usual. The team just recently tested at the mile-and-a-half facility and was extremely comfortable with the handling of the No. 11 America's...

(May 24, 2008) Concord, NC -- CJM Racing headed into Lowe's Motor Speedway with a different strategy than usual. The team just recently tested at the mile-and-a-half facility and was extremely comfortable with the handling of the No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet. With that said, the team opted to make no adjustments in practice and start the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 with the same set-up as the test session. The No. 11 battled some grip issues but maintained solid track position throughout the evening and finished in the 17th position.

43 race teams entered Lowe's Motor Speedway with different agenda's. CJM Racing's focus was on using the knowledge they learned in the test session and applying it to the race conditions. The team used the first of two practice sessions as an opportunity to 'scuff' tires for Saturday night's race and a mock qualifying run was made in the final practice session where the America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevy posted the 10th quickest time at 30.493 seconds.

Saturday afternoon qualifying got underway and in the heat of the day the No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevy went out fourth. After 46 cars made two laps around the facility, the No. 11 was placed 25th on the starting grid.

As night fell upon Lowe's Motor Speedway, Keller settled into the race car for 200-laps of racing. When the first caution flag flew on lap three, Keller reported in that the car was "free on exit in the corners."

Lack of overall grip soon became an issue as the laps continued and for the remainder of the night the team worked to help out the handling woes.

Four pit stops were made throughout the evening with strategy and adjustments playing a part in every trip down pit road. Crew chief Todd Gordon opted for no tires on the first stop with fuel and adjustments only on lap 27. Other stops followed on laps 62, 123 and 163.

Keller kept the America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevy mid-pack almost the entire race and ran as high as the 15th position in the beginning laps. By the end of the night, Keller brought the No. 11 machine across the start/finish line in the 17th position.

"We had a good car and our mile-and-a-half program has come a long way. We're not taking steps back only moving forward every time we head to tracks like these. I'm happy with how we performed and it's only a matter of time before we'll get all the kinks worked out," explained Keller.

The solid run Saturday evening moved Keller up one position in the driver point standings. He now sits just 46 points out of the 10th position.

-credit: cjmr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller