Wreck Ends Keller Hopes for CottonelleÂ® Aloe & E Ford in Pepsi 300 Veteran's 2007 debut with Brewco cut short at chilly Nashville Lebanon, TN (April 7, 2007) . The debut of the beautiful CottonelleÂ® Aloe & E paint scheme on the ...
Wreck Ends Keller Hopes for Cottonelle® Aloe & E Ford in Pepsi 300
Veteran's 2007 debut with Brewco cut short at chilly Nashville
Lebanon, TN (April 7, 2007) . The debut of the beautiful Cottonelle® Aloe & E paint scheme on the #27 Brewco Motorsports Ford Fusion and the colorful green uniforms for Jason Keller and the crew were the only bright spots at the Nashville Superspeedway this weekend for the Pepsi 300. The first of two NASCAR Busch Series events at the 1.33-mile track east of Nashville found 38,000 fans braving temperatures near the freezing mark on Saturday to witness the 402nd career Busch start for Jason Keller and his 2007 debut with Brewco Motorsports.
The Busch Series veteran was the eighth of 43 drivers to make his qualifying attempt on Saturday morning at 10 AM CT. Keller drove the #27 Cottonelle® Aloe & E Ford Fusion to a fast lap of 29.211 seconds / 164.281 mph to earn the 17th starting position in the 43-car field.
With the temperature at race time still in the mid-40s, Keller took the green flag for his first Busch start since Memphis last October. It didn't take long for the veteran driver to report to Crew Chief Stewart Cooper that his Ford was "really, really tight and needed some help to get the car turning better without hurting the handling of the rear". As Keller began to drop in the running order, Cooper and the crew were planning their changes during the first pit stop.
When leader Scott Wimmer passed Keller on lap 56 to put the Cottonelle® Aloe & E one lap down, Cooper called Keller to pit road. Keller pitted on lap 58 for four tires, air pressure and track bar adjustments. Keller would return to the race in 33rd position; however, he would quickly begin to climb in the running order and the leaders started making their green-flag stops at lap 60.
On lap 70, Keller was running 21st, one lap down, and reported that his Ford still had "no grip in the rear and the front slides really badly". Keller would "hold on" and maintain his position on the track until his second pit stop of the race on lap 89.
The Brewco crew changed four tires, refueled, added a rubber in the right rear, and made additional adjustments in air pressure and the track bar. Keller rejoined the race in 24th position, one lap down to the leaders. These adjustments appeared to help for several laps, and Keller was running 19th at the half way mark of the 225-lap race.
On lap 128, Sam Hornish made contact with Keller's Brewco teammate Johnny Sauter sending the #37 into the turn two wall. The resulting caution period gave Keller another opportunity to pit for additional adjustments to his Cottonelle® Aloe & E Ford. Keller would restart 19th on lap 132.
Three laps after the restart, Keller was racing with rookie Richard Johns when the #25 car "took the air off the #27 car" resulting in a two-car accident in turn four. Keller suffered severe damage to the front and right side of his Cottonelle® Aloe & E Ford and drove directly to the garage. After a thorough inspection by the crew, it was determined that the damage was too severe and the Pepsi 300 was over for the #27 Brewco team. Keller would be credited with a 33rd-place finish completing 133 laps.
"Basically, everyone had high hopes for the Cottonelle® Aloe & E Ford today, and I'm very disappointed now," Keller stated after the race. "We started off not quite as good as we wanted, but the crew kept making changes each stop and we were gaining on it. It's very difficult to get behind early and fight back all day, but everyone worked hard and gave a strong effort. It really felt good to get back behind the wheel, and I look forward to my next race with Brewco Motorsports."
The next event for the #27 Cottonelle® Aloe & E Ford will be at Texas Motor Speedway. Qualifying for the O'Reilly 300 will be held on Thursday, April 12th at 6:05 PM CT, with the 200-lap, 300-mile race set for a 3 PM CT start on Saturday, April 14th. ESPN2 will televise the O'Reilly 300 with PRN providing the radio coverage. Ward Burton will drive the #27 Cottonelle® Aloe & E Ford Fusion this weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway.