JASON KELLER PRESS CONFERENCE ...
JASON KELLER PRESS CONFERENCE
#57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"Anytime you're leading with five to go, it's going to be disappointing. We put ourselves in a position to win at the end and made some good changes to the car. We took two tires instead of four there at the end for track position, and actually, it freed the car up, so it made the chassis work better than it had all night. I'm disappointed, but if you told me that I was going to finish second with about 60 to go, I would have been excited. It was fun. Those are the kind of races that I dream about, but I'm usually on the other end of the deal at the end when I'm dreaming. It was a fun day."
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE NEEDED TO STAY IN FRONT OF HARVICK?
"I really think, we were getting runs off of each other off of 2. Coming to take the white flag I knew I had to be on his bumper going into 1 and I spun the tires just off of 4 and fell two car lengths away from him. I made that up off of 2, but I didn't put myself in a position getting into 1. I did everything I thought I could, but it just didn't pan out that way. It's tough out there. Somebody has to finish second, but I just didn't want it to be me tonight."
IT LOOKED LIKE HARD WORK THERE AT THE END, BUT WAS THAT FUN RACING?
"That's what you race for. Coming down to the end of a 250-mile race and to be in a position to win the race and battling like we were and sliding around, that's what you race for. I'm preaching all along to stay in this points battle we need to put ourselves in position. We didn't have the best car tonight, but we were smart tonight. We read the car pretty good midway through the race, and I surfed around the race track a lot more than I usually do to find the groove where the car worked best. We're racing smarter than we used to, and that's what the difference is. We've got great race cars, and like Kevin, we have great pit stops. We did what we needed to do and I don't think anybody can fault us for racing our hearts out tonight. For us to stay contenders for the next part of the season, we've got to do what we did tonight. We have to qualify up front like we did this weekend and we have to run up front at night. It was a lot of positives. We did what we needed to do."
HOW HARD IS IT TO FINISH SECOND HERE?
"I don't know. That other second-place finish, we were sliding around a lot too. It was pretty hot out there and we were sliding around there tonight. I've had two close seconds here. It's a fun race track because it's so unique because it's so different on the two ends. I had a great time and the Anhueser-Busch people treated us great on Thursday. It's been a great time. Too bad we don't have any Albertsons strores around here where we could go buy some Busch beer right now, but if I'm sure I can find some down pit road here."
DID YOU HAVE ANY BRAKE PROBLEMS TONIGHT?
"I did. It made my car better when I stopped using so much brake. Steve came on the radio and told me that fronts were really getting hot. I'm not the brightest light in the hall, and I kept cranking brake in it and it kept getting worse. I was cranking it the wrong way and putting more front brake in it. I figured that out midway through the race and it started getting the car better. It was tight racing all night. You'd go around lapped cars and would slide around. It wasn't an overabundance of beating and banging, but there was some cool beating and banging going on. Drivers like to be kind of physical, and it was a physical race out there. We would get jammed up on the restart and get nose to tail, and I busted the grille off the car. I felt like I was at Greenville-Pickens."
YOUR CAR LOOKED BETTER AFTER THAT LAST PIT STOP.
"We went back and looked at some changes and we made some air pressure adjustments. Actually, the two tires was a bit of a baffle because the guys that took on four weren't faster than we were. The two tires freed up my car like I needed it to be and it put ourselves position at the end. We were watching the cars that took on two tires at the start of the race and we knew weren't going to take on two until then end. That was our strategy. We were losing track position in the middle of the race with guys taking on two, but we knew we needed as fresh of left-side tires as possible because we were going to take on two right-side tires at the end. It worked out like we wanted it to at the end as far as track position. It was just a fun night."
WAS IT TOO PHYSICAL AT THE END?
"Kevin and I have raced a lot against each other. It was just hard racing. I knew it was going to get with screwing with a little bit, but we were right in the mix of it. He's a hard racer and they've got a great race team and so do we. I wish he was about 10 car lengths back in my rearview mirror and we would have been all right, but it just didn't work out that way."