Texas: Jason Keller race report

CJM Racing Continues Their Momentum at Texas, Finish 12th (April 5, 2008) Ft. Worth, Tex. -- CJM Racing headed into the season-opener at Daytona just two short months ago with a lot of unknowns. Seven races in; the future is a lot more secure.

CJM Racing Continues Their Momentum at Texas, Finish 12th

(April 5, 2008) Ft. Worth, Tex. -- CJM Racing headed into the season-opener at Daytona just two short months ago with a lot of unknowns. Seven races in; the future is a lot more secure. America's Incredible Pizza Company has signed on as the primary sponsor and the on-track performance is gaining ground every week. The Incredible Pizza Racing team rallied back mid-race and posted their highest finish of the season at Texas Motor Speedway.

CJM Racing headed into Texas with a new outlook and a whole lot to look forward to this weekend. With sponsorship secured, the team will now run the entire 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule and compete for a top spot in the championship point standings. Coming into the mile-and-a-half facility, Keller sat 14th in driver point standings. Leaving Texas he would gain one spot moving the Incredible Pizza Racing team into 13th.

"It's such a great feeling knowing we are going to compete every weekend. The team has made great strides and I know we have what is takes to get into the top-10. We've been consistent, there's no doubt about that, and now we have the time to perfect our program," Keller remarked.

As track activities got underway Thursday morning, a familiar setting took place. The rain clouds appeared and once again plagued the Nationwide Series. A limited practice session was held under overcast skies and despite the circumstances at hand, Keller was able to wheel the No. 11 machine to the 12th position with a time of 29.637 seconds, 182.205 mph.

The window for on-track activity soon dissipated and qualifying was called due to rain later that afternoon. For the fourth time this season, the 43-car field would be lined up by owner points; placing the No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet 20th on the board.

Under sunny skies, the green flag fell at 2:17 pm Saturday afternoon signifying the start of the O'Reilly 300.

Keller reported in a free in, tight off handling condition almost immediately. Too early to pit, Keller did his best to maintain track position. He was running in the 20th position when he fell victim to the lap leaders around lap 50 and went a lap down.

With no caution flag in sight, the entire field began green flag pit stops at lap 52. The No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevy was brought down pit road on lap 56 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. The No. 11 would rejoin the field in the 20th position.

The handling remained a concern as the laps progressed but the team never gave up. In hopes of alleviating the tight handling race car, the No. 11 was brought down pit road again on lap 93 for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The adjustments did not improve the handling and Keller fell another lap down with just 60 laps to go.

As the leaders began to make their green flag pit stops on lap 152, pit strategy on the part of CJM Racing became a key factor in the team's finish. Good on fuel mileage, Keller was able to keep the America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevy out on track for some additional laps. Just two laps shy of entering pit road for a pit stop the caution flag waved and placed Keller one lap down in the "Lucky Dog" position.

The "Lucky Dog" award gave the team just what they needed, a position back on the lead lap. After a quick pit stop, the No. 11 restarted in the 11th position (last car on the lead lap) with 40 laps remaining.

Keller was only one of 14 cars to remain on the lead lap as the race came to a close. The No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet crossed the finish line in the 12th position and gave the team their highest finishing position this season.

-credit: cjmr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller