BUSCH: Keller wins at Loudon

by Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com Loudon New Hampshire. Busch Grand National Veteran Jason Keller wins the CVS Pharmacy 200, by a margin of 2.133 seconds ahead of series point's leader Kevin Harvick. Harvick, who started on the pole, was ...

by Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com

Loudon New Hampshire.

Busch Grand National Veteran Jason Keller wins the CVS Pharmacy 200, by a margin of 2.133 seconds ahead of series point's leader Kevin Harvick.

Harvick, who started on the pole, was clearly the dominant car, leading a total of 165 of the events 200.

Keller was able to take the lead on lap 184 after he gained an advantage on the restart after the final caution.

"Steve Addington, my crew chief, decided to take four tires on the last stop." We came out behind Harvick. He had two tires, and four Goodyear Eagles are better than two Goodyear Eagles, I can tell you that". Notes Keller.

Harvick fell behind Greg Biffle, his closest competitor in the point's race. Biffle, who was one lap down raced Harvick allowing Keller to build up an eight-car length lead.

Harvick was not pleased with the lapped cars action, and the two drivers had an exchange after the race.

Keller's thoughts on the conflict were simple. "I knew it was going to happen after he didn't give him his lap back. I knew if I got Biffle between me, I would be in good shape".

The win was the first for Keller in 2001, and the fifth of his career.


Photo: Thomas Chemris

Keller felt the win was truly a team effort, and he dedicated the win to Adam Petty.

Adam, the fourth generation competitor from NASCARs first family was killed during a practice crash at the speedway, one year to the day of the event.

Behind Keller and Harvick, were Winston Cup Driver Mike Skinner, 2000 Champion, Jeff Green, and Kenny Wallace.

Skinner who raced his cup teammate for the second position indicated he had a car that was stronger than where it finished. "We had more tire, but he used more real estate". Referring to the shootout on the last ten laps.

NASCAR President Mike Helton was overseeing the event. Taking advantage of the off week in Winston Cup, Helton noted he enjoys the Busch Series. The field was low, with an overall car count of 37. Helton did not think this as a concern. "I think that is a good count. The series had some changes this year in the engines, and it will take time for more teams to develop a new engine program".

The 1.058-mile facility has hosted the Busch Series since 1990. Prior to this year's event, Technical crews from the new speedway in Kansas City arrived to scrape the track.

Prior to the Winston Cup event in July, the track will be re-sealed.

The Average speed of the race was 108.714 MPH, and included five lead changes among five drivers. Green, Wallace and Biffle were the other competitors to take the point.

The race was slowed by 4 cautions for a total of 22 laps.

Among those having problems were Clay Rogers who made heavy contact with the wall with some help from fellow competitor Jay Sauter on lap 2.

New England native Kevin Lepage backed into the turn four wall on lap 14. Lepage, filling in for Jimmy Spencer in the number one Yellow Freight car. Lepage, who normally drives the State Fair Car, did not originally intend to run the event "State Fair brand is not marketed in the North East, so this was a great opportunity to come back to my home track, and make it a real family weekend".

Family was the theme of the weekend, as many drivers were busy making travel plans to get home for Mothers Day .

"My Mother is where I get all my spunk and my mouth from," notes Kenny Wallace, who will not be seeing him mom Judy due to travel constraints".

Other drivers who indicated they would not make it home included Jeff Green who will be headed to Dover, Delaware to Test with his Richard Childress Winston Cup Team.

A heavy test schedule is what driver Kevin Harvick attributed his record Breaking Pole run. "We just tested at Nazareth on Monday, and it's the same tire, so it helped us a lot".

Harvick, who currently leads rookie Greg Biffle by 56 points will again find that information valuable as the series heads into Nazareth Speedway Sunday May 20th.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Adam Petty , Jason Keller , Mike Skinner , Jimmy Spencer , Kevin Harvick , Kenny Wallace , Greg Biffle , Jeff Green , Kevin Lepage , Clay Rogers , Jay Sauter , Mike Helton