Keller poised for 350th start in NASCAR Busch Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 6, 2004) -- Back in April, Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford) celebrated his 34th birthday. It seems hard to imagine, then, that Keller will be looking to...
Keller poised for 350th start in NASCAR Busch Series
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 6, 2004) -- Back in April, Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford) celebrated his 34th birthday.
It seems hard to imagine, then, that Keller will be looking to make his 350th NASCAR Busch Series start on Saturday at Kansas.
Keller was four days removed from his 21st birthday when he made his first series start on April 27, 1991 at Lanier Raceway in Gainesville, Ga. finishing 29th. The two men who still stand in front of him on the all-time starts list -- Tommy Houston and Elton Sawyer -- were sixth and 11th in that race, respectively.
Houston, who is first in series starts with 417, was 48 years old when he made his 350th. Sawyer, who had 392 NASCAR Busch Series starts, was 40 when he started No. 350.
The significance of his upcoming start is not lost on Keller, but neither is the fact that the native of Greenville, S.C., looks to accomplish the feat while a "young gun" himself.
"It's an honor any time you find your name on a list of competitors that have reached significant milestones in this sport," Keller said. "Elton was a good friend of mine when I first started racing in this series. Tommy was just ending his career, so I didn't have as much of an opportunity to get to know him.
"But I look at that list and think to myself, 'Gosh, those guys were in their 40s when they accomplished their 350th career start.' I'm only 34, (and) I still expect to have 350 more starts," he said.
"I think people look at my stats in this sport and perceive me as much older than I really am. It's nice to have these milestones, but because I started so young in this series, I hope there are many more to come."
Keller has 10 career wins and enters Kansas with 229 consecutive starts, an active streak that is the best in the series. He has finished in the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 in seven of his previous 10 full-time seasons, and is poised to make 2004 the sixth consecutive year where he has finished in the Top 10 -- he was second twice (2000, 2002) and third once (2001). Despite his seventh-place standing, Keller is not content with his results this year.
"I'm not overjoyed by where I'm at in the points right now because in the past five years, I've been in contention for the championship several times and we're not right now," he said. "So we just need to focus on winning races and getting this team back to where it needs to be, and that's up front."