Jason Keller to make 300th NASCAR Busch Series start Only fifth driver to make 300 starts in series history CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 12, 2003) --- When Jason Keller takes the green flag at Nazareth Speedway on May 18th, he will not only be defending...
Jason Keller to make 300th NASCAR Busch Series start
Only fifth driver to make 300 starts in series history
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 12, 2003) --- When Jason Keller takes the green flag at Nazareth Speedway on May 18th, he will not only be defending his race title, but making his 300th-career start as a NASCAR Busch Series driver. Keller becomes only the fifth driver in NASCAR Busch Series history to reach the milestone joining Tommy Houston, Elton Sawyer, Randy Lajoie and 1999 Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett.
"I am extremely proud of running this long in the NASCAR Busch Series and remaining so competitive," said Keller. "When you look at how many drivers have competed in the Busch Series, it is pretty elite company that I'm joining this weekend. I recently pulled out old photos and saw how many different cars and sponsors I have had the privilege of working with over the years. The Busch Series has been a great home to me over the past 10 years."
Keller made his Busch Series debut in 1991 at Lanier Speedway in Georgia. He finished 29th and earned $525. Today, Keller has earned over $6.8 million and sits atop the all-time money list in the series. On his way to his 300th start, Keller has earned nine wins, nine poles, 67 top-five and 128 top-10 finishes. As most people would expect, his favorite moment in the Busch Series was his first win at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
"Winning at IRP may not be my favorite win, but it is definitely my most memorable moment," said Keller. "It was so rewarding for me because it was a family-owned operation. I can recall standing in victory lane with my dad thinking about how much time and money it took to get to that point. I finally had my moment to really thank him for everything he and my mom had done for me to earn that first win."
While Keller credits his family for most of his success, he might not have had the longevity and success in the series without crew chief Steve Addington along side of him. Addington and Keller have worked together for 15 years.
"Steve has been a huge part of my success in the Busch Series," said Keller. "The few years we were apart were some of the most difficult of my career. When I came to drive for Greg Pollex, they did some restructuring and asked me what I needed. Without hesitation I knew I needed Steve. Steve and I are very comfortable with one another and we know what to expect. That chemistry is priceless."
Keller has seen significant changes in the NASCAR Busch Series throughout his tenure. The Busch Series never traveled west of the Mississippi River when Keller first started competing. Now the series visits Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix - a far cry from Hickory, Myrtle Beach and Rougemont.
"It's been an incredible experience to see how far the Busch Series has come over the past 10 years," said Keller. "If NASCAR had never expanded to new markets, I would not have Albertsons as a sponsor. What used to be considered minor league racing based around the southeast, is now the second most watched form of motorsports in the country."
This weekend is leading itself to be a storybook tale. Keller will not only be making his 300th start, but he will be defending his race title from 2002. Keller has not won since the race at Nazareth last year, so a repeat victory would be the icing on the cake.
"I'm really excited about making my 300th start at Nazareth," Keller said. "Last year we really had the dominant car. We are coming off a great top-five finish at St. Louis and we are taking my favorite car this weekend to Nazareth. My confidence is high and I have the people I've aligned myself with over the years to thank for it all."
While the NASCAR Busch Series has seen its highs and lows over the past 10 years, one thing has remained constant... a very competitive Jason Keller.