Respectable performance under a difficult situation RICHMOND, Va. (May 3, 2003) - It was not the way he dreamed about making his Winston Cup debut, but Jason Keller stood up to the task and handled a difficult situation with respectability as...
Respectable performance under a difficult situation
RICHMOND, Va. (May 3, 2003) - It was not the way he dreamed about making his Winston Cup debut, but Jason Keller stood up to the task and handled a difficult situation with respectability as the substitute driver for the injured Jerry Nadeau.
In his maiden ride in NASCAR's elite circuit, Keller finished 32nd in Saturday night's Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Keller, who is one of the top drivers in the NASCAR's Busch Series, accepted the United States Army ride shortly after Nadeau was injured in Friday's Winston Cup practice.
"It was an honor to be asked to do it," said the 33-year-old Keller "Under the circumstances it was tough, but these guys made me feel like part of the family and that made it so much easier. It took me about 100 laps to find my groove and then the car was there, it just took me a little while to get there. It was a great experience.
"This team is a class act and I was happy to help out. We all had our thoughts with Jerry and hope he gets well real soon."
Keller, who was forced to start the 400-lap event at the back of the field, was running a clean race, but on lap 268 he got hit from behind. Though the No. 01 U.S. Army Pontiac Grand Prix suffered major damage, it was still drivable after some quick repair work by the Army of One pit crew.
Keller was unfazed by the problem and drove the black and gold car until NASCAR officials called the race with seven laps remaining due to a light rain shower.
"It was a tough deal and Jason did a good job," said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "I thought we ran well considering the limited amount of time we had together. That's about it for the race -- the rest of our thoughts right now are with Jerry. I know he is going to be back, I just don't know when. And I can't wait for him to return."