BUSCH: Dover Jason Keller Victory Quotes

JASON KELLER (No. 57 Excedrin Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Keller’s victory Saturday at Dover gave Team Monte Carlo its eighth victory of the season on the NASCAR Busch Grand National circuit. Chevrolet leads Ford 108-96 in the Bill...

JASON KELLER (No. 57 Excedrin Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Keller’s victory Saturday at Dover gave Team Monte Carlo its eighth victory of the season on the NASCAR Busch Grand National circuit. Chevrolet leads Ford 108-96 in the Bill France Performance Cup Standings with eight victories in 2000. Ford has six wins. Pontiac is third with 62 points and no victories. Keller, a 30-year-old driver from Greenville, S.C., scored his fourth career victory in his 203rd career start. It’s been 23 races since his last victory on Aug. 6, 1999 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. He jumped from sixth to fourth in the Busch Grand National point standings and trails leader and teammate Jeff Green by 406 points. Keller led once for the final 43 laps and scored a .262-second victory over Mark Martin.

“I think our competitors needed the Excedrin more than we did today. It’s nice to win a race and it’s even nicer, Excedrin’s headquarters is just a couple of hours north of here in New Jersey and we spent a lot of time up there Thursday. They had 60 or 70 people here today. It’s real nice to win. We just had an awesome Chevrolet today. We’ve been getting our balance better and better on our Monte Carlos and Goodyear brought a great tire and we won, so it’s a great day for us. “I really got fortunate. I caught Mark right there in traffic and slipped right by him. I was real fortunate there. I thought he was saving a little bit and was going to make a run on us at the end. I felt like as long as we were clear of lapped traffic that we would be OK. I thought everything was going to work out for me because I definitely had the best race car. I’ve led here before in the past and things happened kind of toward the end of the race that kind of took me out. God has blessed me in so many ways, and he blessed me today with a good race car and a great win. I’ve never won on a big race track. This is the biggest one I’ve ever had, so hopefully we’ll shake that short track mentality a lot of people have of me and go on to bigger and better things. “I think it goes to the crew. It seems like we’ve got a really good setup for the concrete. I like the concrete. It’s more of a consistent grip than some of the asphalt race tracks we run on. I just like coming here to Dover. I’ve run well here in the past. I’ve sat on the pole here in the past. It’s always been good to me. The victory has eluded me, now I’ve got one in the bag. It just really feels good. I felt like we would have won by now in the season, but to get it in the fashion we did, we passed Mark Martin for the win, and that was special to me. I’ll always remember that. “When you test yourself against the best there is, you know where you stand. Today we tested ourselves against the best the Busch Series has ever had, Mark Martin. Most days those guys pick on us pretty hard, but today was our day. Bring ‘em all on when I’ve got a race car like I had today. Those guys are fierce competitors and the best. Today I felt like we showed ‘em that given the right day we can run with them. Now we need to run with them week in and week out. We’re going into a stretch that’s going to be our own races and they’re not going to be in conjunction with Winston Cup. This is a good thing to go into it with. “I felt like I had to make it when I could make it. He got out there in lapped traffic and I was fortunate enough to slip by there. I saw him wiggle a little bit off two and probably got his right rear hot. He went and drove Saturday, June 3, 2000. Dover Downs International Speedway. in under a lapped car there and drove in pretty hard and got a little loose. At that time it was one of those things. The crew chief just told me to keep going and keep my momentum up. Once I got to him, I got by him. Heck, I thought I was dreaming there at one time. I kept looking at my mirror. I didn’t know if it was going to turn into a nightmare or a good dream. He’s definitely the best and the toughest I run. He ran me clean out there. Everybody did today. Today was just our day and nobody can say any different. “It got a little close in lapped traffic there a couple of times. As far as he pulled back up on me there and I had a really close call early in the race on the back straightaway when the 26 car or somebody wrecked on the backstretch off two. We did everything but wreck back there. It could have been the end of the day right there, easily. But when I got to Mark I felt like Mark was going to race me clean. His car was good on the bottom and that’s where mine was good. I felt like if it came down to it it was going to be tough to pass him on the outside, but the only thing I could see was that big emblem on that 60 car the last part of the race. I really consciously tried not to look back there. I didn’t look at the scoreboard to see how many laps were left. I really felt comfortable with the pace I was setting, and that worked out for me at the end. “I was kind of blanking it all out, trying to focus on what I really needed to do. I don’t talk a lot on the radio. I’m not multi-talented. If I start talking I mess up and mess up my line and everything else. It’s pretty quiet on the radio all day. Even when I caught Mark, I was complaining about the car being a little bit loose. The crew chief said I was a tenth and a half faster than the leader. It was still loose, but it worked out real good for us today. I’m kind of numb right now. As I was chasing down Mark Martin I was thinking, ‘this can’t be real.’ But it is. That’s the kind of race team we have. “I don’t know about the points championship. I think Jeff Green and Todd Bodine have a two-horse race right now. Somebody has to finish third. If we’re in position to do what we need to do and get ourselves into third and keep going. Those guys have to have a couple of bad races, and we can’t dictate that. I think my teammate (Jeff Green) has got a really good shot at it. I just want to win races. We faltered a little bit at the beginning of the year, but we’ve got ourselves back up into position in the points like we need to. We need to be a consistent top-five race team, and that’s where we are.”

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Drivers Todd Bodine , Jason Keller , Jeff Green , Mark Martin