Watkins Glen: Jason Keller race report

Transmission Troubles Send CJM Racing to the Garage at the Glen (August 9, 2008) Watkins Glen, NY -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series headed to Upstate NY for their final road-course race of the season and after a bad string of luck over the...

Transmission Troubles Send CJM Racing to the Garage at the Glen

(August 9, 2008) Watkins Glen, NY -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series headed to Upstate NY for their final road-course race of the season and after a bad string of luck over the course of the last two weeks the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team is ready to move on. The No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet was running mid-field in the closing laps of the Zippo 200 when transmission problems plagued the car. When the problem became terminal, Jason Keller was forced to park the No. 11 and finish out the day in the 32nd position.

Things started out it their usual manor as CJM Racing began to prepare for another road-course event. The crew made their way through technical inspection Friday morning and then readied themselves for two practice sessions. A couple hours before the scheduled session rain began to fall over the Watkins Glen area. NASCAR questioned whether or not they would allow the teams to practice in the rainy conditions with rain tires. After much debate, it was decided that they would not and teams were asked to hold on to see if the showers would move through. Not too long after the weather changed for the better and the America's Incredible Pizza Company went out on track for a two-hour practice session.

Keller has had some success at Watkins Glen and was eager to redeem the team's performance from last weekend in Montreal. After getting a feel for the track, the team made some minor adjustments and went on to post the 21st quickest time out of 48 cars with a 74.257 second run, 118.777 mph.

Saturday morning brought with it sunny skies and great weather for the Nationwide Series to qualify and race. The America's Incredible Pizza Company race team began to prepare for the days activities when they quickly noticed a problem with the car relating

to Friday's practice session. Keller accidentally hit the rumble strips (curb) at high speeds and caused damage to the oil pan which was fixed on Friday. More problems lurked underneath upon further examination and the team quickly went to work to replace the rear-end housing. With time closing in on them for qualifying, the team worked together and made it out on the track in time for qualifying. Keller placed the America's Incredible Pizza Company 24th in the field.

The Zippo 200 began with no problems. 43-cars cruised through the 2.4-mile road-course with no altercations until lap 12. The caution enabled the team to bring the No. 11 machine down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to help with a loose handling condition through the right-hand turns. Keller restarted the race in the 20th position.

10 laps later another caution flag was displayed and the America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet returned to pit road for four more tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Crew chief Todd Gordon hoped that the combination of wedge and air pressure would alleviate the loose handling condition.

Pit strategy fell into place on lap 42 as the majority of the fields brought their race cars down pit road for service. Keller stayed out on track and was displayed in the 10th position when the race resumed on lap 44. The No. 11 remained out front until a final pit stop was needed on lap 50. Gordon made some aggressive changes calling for an air pressure and track bar adjustment. The America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet restarted in the 27th position with less than 30 laps to go.

Keller made his way through the field and was running in the 22nd position when he radioed in, "I lost second and first gear." Heartbreak fell over the team and the No. 11 was brought behind the pit wall on lap 69.

Reality sunk in fast as the team knew they could not replace the transmission and get Keller back out on the track in time for the end of the race. Only 12 laps remained in the 82-lap event. Keller drove the No. 11 back to the garage to be loaded up for the day. The America's Incredible Pizza Company race team would be credited with the 32nd finishing position.

-credit: cjmr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller