BUSCH: Indy IRP: Jason Keller - NASCAR spotlight

IRP provides comfort zone for Keller DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 4, 2004) - It hasn't been a typical Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford) season, with the perennial NASCAR Busch Series championship contender currently sitting seventh...

IRP provides comfort zone for Keller

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 4, 2004) - It hasn't been a typical Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford) season, with the perennial NASCAR Busch Series championship contender currently sitting seventh in the points standings.

A typical Keller performance at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Saturday night, however, will certainly strengthen his title chances.

Keller, who has finished no lower than fifth in the championship rankings in each of the last five years and has been in the Top 10 in seven of his 10 seasons in the series, has had great success at IRP since his first start at the track in 1994 when he finished ninth.

Keller has two wins - including his first NASCAR Busch Series career victory in 1995 - six top-five efforts and eight top-10 finishes in 10 career starts at IRP. He has finished second the last two years, and was a factor in what many observers call one of the greatest races in NASCAR Busch Series history last year when Brian Vickers outdueled Shane Hmiel and Keller for the win. Hmiel will return to IRP for Saturday's race, driving the No. 38 Great Clips Ford.

"It's a special place to me because I've won there twice," Keller said of IRP. "I don't really know why I run so well there; it just seems to be a driver's race track and I like that.

"Last year was an exciting finish. It came down to the last 25 laps or so and there were about five of us racing side-by-side for a good 20 laps. Vickers got away from the pack on the restart before I did, but we battled with about four or five cars to the end. I'm sure the fans loved it."

Despite his current points ranking, Keller is hardly mired in a slump. Only 72 points separate Keller from Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), who is third. Keller enters Saturday's race having posted six top-five and nine top-10 finishes, and has finished in the top five in three of his last six races.

"Because we're not as close to first place in the standings as we usually are at this point in the year, I've tried not to think about the points too much," said Keller, who was third in the final championship rankings one year ago. "In the past, we've been closer to first than we are this year, so we thought about it more. Right now, I'm just trying to focus on getting back my form with my team and running like we need to in order to have good, solid finishes."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Shane Hmiel , Brian Vickers