Dover: Jason Keller race report

Late Race Incident Relinquishes CJM Racing to a 16th Place Finish (May 31, 2008) Dover, Del. -- A whole lot of rain, a delayed race and a late race accident made for a long weekend for the No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company race team. The...

Late Race Incident Relinquishes CJM Racing to a 16th Place Finish

(May 31, 2008) Dover, Del. -- A whole lot of rain, a delayed race and a late race accident made for a long weekend for the No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company race team. The team battled back from the adversity and finished out the 200-lap event in the 16th place.

CJM Racing anxiously awaited their return to Dover International Speedway. 'The Monster Mile' has always been a favorite track for veteran driver Jason Keller and the team has had some solid results. Last season the No. 11 posted finishes of 13th and eighth so the optimism was high heading into the weekend.

Practice got underway early Friday morning and the No. 11 posted the 15th quickest time at 23.788 seconds, 151.337 mph. Later that afternoon, the NASCAR Nationwide Series headed back out on the track for their final practice session where the America's Incredible Pizza Company posted the 22nd quickest time on the board; 24.149 seconds, 149.074 mph.

As the teams entered the track Saturday morning, weather was on everyone's mind. The forecast called for rain and a lot of it at the 3:00 hour. With the Heluva Good! 200 scheduled to start at 3:15 PM the concern was justified. Crews went on with their day as usual in hopes that the impending weather system would miss the Dover area.

Qualifying went on without a hitch Saturday morning and the No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet found itself placed firmly in the 43-car field in the 24th place position.

An hour before driver introductions the dreaded weather moved into the area. The skies opened up and forced NASCAR to post-pone the start of the race. Teams stayed dry in their haulers and waited the rain out for a little over three hours. At 5:00 NASCAR gave the 'green light' and preparations for racing resumed.

The No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet held strong in the opening laps despite an ill-handling race car. Keller reported in under caution on lap 18 that the No. 11 was "loose getting in the car and then suffering from a terrible bounce on exit".

NASCAR quickly made the call that the very first caution would serve as a mandatory competition caution allowing all the teams to come down pit road for service. The America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevy would receive four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.

Keller restarted in the 22nd position and continued to battle handling woes as the laps progressed. Determined to help alleviate the issues, crew chief Todd Gordon called Keller to pit road three more times for major adjustments ranging from air pressure, wedge and track bar.

The No. 11 machine gained momentum as the laps slowly dwindled. Displayed in the 17th position on lap 163, race strategy quickly changed as Keller and the No. 6 driven by David Ragan had an on-track incident causing significant damage to both race cars. Fortunately the CJM Racing crew was able to make the much needed repairs on pit road after two pit stops and Keller was able to rejoin the field in the 16th position.

Despite a damaged race car, Keller forged forward for the remaining laps. At the end of a very long day the No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet was credited with a 16th place finish.

"I'm not ecstatic about where we finished but with all things considered it could have been a lot worse. The crew did a great job getting the car repaired and getting me back out on the race track," Keller remarked.

-credit: chm

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller , David Ragan