This Week in Ford Racing August 31, 2004 NASCAR Busch Series Jason Keller, driver of the No. 22 Taurus, is currently sixth in the point standings, but as the season begins to wind down, a spot in the top three is not out of the question. ...
This Week in Ford Racing
August 31, 2004
NASCAR Busch Series
Jason Keller, driver of the No. 22 Taurus, is currently sixth in the point standings, but as the season begins to wind down, a spot in the top three is not out of the question. While the distance to the top spot is 558 points, Keller is just 126 points out of third place with 10 races remaining. Keller has not finished outside the top five in points since 1999, and is focused on making sure that streak is extended to a fifth consecutive season.
JASON KELLER -22-Miller High Life Ford Taurus
IS A TOP-THREE FINISH IN THE POINTS STILL A POSSIBILITY?
"Early in the year, I was asked what I expected out of this year, and I said I really hope we can stay in the game until we can get our act together, and we've been consistently moving in that direction, so I hope we're able to end the season much stronger than we started it. We didn't get the performances at some of the race tracks that I had hoped for, but there's so much new this year that we're dealing with. We really had to work through some issues. You can talk about it as long as you want to talk about it, but you've got to get it done on the race track and the last couple of weeks we've been able to get it done on the race track and in the pits. I still feel we're moving in the right direction and have some untapped potential yet to show."
WITH THE 2005 SCHEDULE ALREADY RELEASED, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SOME OF THE CHANGES?
"I'm disappointed about losing a Darlington race and a race at Rockingham all together. Add Nazareth to that, and it looks like they're taking all of the tracks that I've won on away from me. I'm kind of in limbo because NASCAR has a direction for us and hopefully that direction grows our sport and hopefully it doesn't run the die-hards out of the sport, but we'll have to wait and see. I'm sure there are a lot of fans in Mexico City that would love to see a NASCAR event. Who's to say that a race in Mexico won't bring sponsors into our series that need that market? It will work for some sponsors and I'm sure some sponsors could care less. If it helps in some way to grow the series and boost the series then I think we need to look at it."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT ONCE AGAIN COMPETING ON ROAD COURSES?
"I really like Watkins Glen and that's the only road course that I've ever run on. I think it would be crazy to have just one road course race. If we have two, that's getting up there where it's feasible to build a couple of good road-racing cars. We only had one road race a year for a long time, and that was really tough on the owners to have specialized cars for those races."
ARE YOU SURPRISED THIS YEAR TO SEE TWO ROOKIES LEADING THE POINT STANDINGS?
"The rookies now are with better race teams than they used to be with, so I think they're expected to run good, but I didn't think they would run as consistently and really make such a big splash."
WITH THE SUCCESS OF THE ROUSH-YATES PARTNERSHIP ON THE CUP SIDE, DO YOU THINK YOU CAN POOL YOUR RESOURCES WITH OTHER SINGLE-CAR FORD BUSCH TEAMS TO OVERCOME THE LOSS OF A TEAMMATE?
"I think so. I think we're going to be out to help each other and willing to help each other. We've kind of have to see where this thing evolves together and see where it goes, but I think we're going to be able to work together with them and some of these other Ford teams. We want the Fords to do good, and naturally I want to beat all of the other Fords, but in the end our cars react the same and we want each other to do good."
IT THERE A TRICKLE-DOWN EFFECT IN TERMS OF INFORMATION BEING PASSED DOWN FROM NEXTEL CUP TO THE BUSCH SERIES?
"I'm not sure about the trickle-down effect, but they have twice as much time to get it figured out and I think they got it figured out first. I think we have to learn some things on our own. There's going to be hearsay on what some of the Cup teams are doing, but you can't put stock in that until you try it yourself and learn it yourself. We're still learning a lot about the new tire and we've only got another 10 races left in the season. The 22 team is not a totally new beginning for us at ppc and I wasn't expecting an extremely big learning curve. We've just struggled at times this year and I've worked around all of these guys and I've been here in this sport a long time, so I don't want to blame it on a learning curve. There were just a lot of new things this year we've had to try to adapt to and we're getting better every week, and I hope that equates to a strong finish for us these last 10 races."