Jason Keller/Miller High Life Pre-Race Notes Event Information -- Event: Sharpie Professional 250; Time and Date: 1:00 p.m. EST, March 27, 2004; Live Coverage: FOX (television) at 1:00 p.m. EST and MRN (radio) at 1:00 p.m. EST; Qualifying:...
Jason Keller/Miller High Life Pre-Race Notes
Event Information -- Event: Sharpie Professional 250; Time and Date: 1:00 p.m. EST, March 27, 2004; Live Coverage: FOX (television) at 1:00 p.m. EST and MRN (radio) at 1:00 p.m. EST; Qualifying: March 26, 2004 at 1:30 p.m. EST on SPEED Channel
Did you know? -- Jason Keller is tied with Morgan Sheppard for the most poles by a Busch Series driver at Bristol Motor Speedway. His first came at the spring race in 1999, where he started from the pole position and took the checkered flag, capturing the second win of his career. The second and third came in 2002 and 2003 in the fall races, where he finished 9th and 11th respectively. Keller feels a certain comfort at the half-mile, high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway. It bears a resemblance to the small tracks he grew up racing on in the early days of his career.
Sponsorship Update --The Bristol race marks the first of 13 in which Miller High Life will appear as an associate sponsor on Keller's car. The Miller High Life brand will appear as a primary sponsor for 19 of the 34 races for the 2004 season. The High Life brand is no stranger to the NASCAR community. The brand made its motor sports debut in 1970 by sponsoring the High Life 500 NASCAR stock car race at California's Ontario Motor Speedway. The Miller High Life logo also garnered the hood of Bobby Allison's No. 22 championship winning car in 1983. Keller's car carries a similar paint scheme to that of Allison's championship car, in honor of Miller High Life's rich history in the sport.
Testing the High Banks of Bristol -- The No. 22 Miller High Life Ford tested at Bristol Motor Speedway the week after leaving Vegas. The one-day test proved to be a success for the team as they determined the car they tested with would not be the right car to return to the track with for the Sharpie Professional 250. Crew Chief Wes Ward was unhappy with the way the car settled on the race track and made a decision to bring the No. 57-18 car that Keller had ample success with in 2002. The team also had minor engine troubles at the test, causing them to be unable to get a feel for the car on long runs. But Keller is confident with the car Ward is bringing to the track this weekend, and he feels good about his chances of getting his fourth pole and 11th career win.
Keller on Racing at Bristol -- "Bristol is so unpredictable. I love this track but it is just total chaos for 250 laps. You just have to hope that at the end of the day, you are one of the ones that survived. In NASCAR, things happen fast, but there extra fast at Bristol. It is nice to go back to a track that I've had so much success at, but there are still so many new factors that will come into play on Saturday. The softer tires will play an important role in how the cars will handle here and again, we are still learning with this new team. I'm more concerned with what we need to build on as a team and developing my relationship with my new crew chief."
Keller on Testing at Bristol -- "We learned a lot at the Bristol test. Most importantly, that we're not taking back the same race car. It's a good thing that we didn't go there with our original car and then decide once we got there, that it wasn't the car we wanted. We didn't learn as much as we hoped to learn, but we'll be OK."
Wes Ward on Bristol Test --"Our test in Bristol was good. We never really got the car right on long runs due to some engine problems. But Jason runs well here and we don't expect anything different from him this year. I like the car we're bringing here, Jason has had success with it in the past, and we're looking forward to running up front."