Daytona: Jason Keller race report

Keller Finishes Amongst The Mix Of Cup Stars In Nationwide Opener; Ninth Place Finish Highest of non-Cup Drivers Nashville, Tenn., Feb, 16, 2009 -- When the green flag waved with six laps to go in the Camping World 300 on Saturday, NASCAR ...

Keller Finishes Amongst The Mix Of Cup Stars In Nationwide Opener; Ninth Place Finish Highest of non-Cup Drivers

Nashville, Tenn., Feb, 16, 2009 -- When the green flag waved with six laps to go in the Camping World 300 on Saturday, NASCAR Nationwide Series veteran Jason Keller was right where he wanted to be, battling NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars for the victory. Keller raced the No. 27 Kroger Ford Fusion across the finish line ninth, tops making him the only non-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver to finish in the top-10.

"Realistically that was David vs. Goliath and today we raced with those guys," Keller reflected. "I know this race team is much better than we had last year and this is a boost. It shows how much hard work pays off. I can't say how much we needed this and I can't say how much I needed this. It was a good day."

Making his 19th start at the historic Daytona International Speedway, Keller led a lap for the first time at the speedway after Crew Chief Todd Gordon elected to take just gas during a caution moving the No. 27 Kroger Ford to the front of the pack during laps 76 through 78.

"Today we were representing not only our team but all the exceptional Kroger employees who had their faces on the car and I'm happy that we represented them well," Keller said. "We have great sponsors in Kimberly-Clark, The United States Postal Service, State Water Heaters and Ford Racing and I'd also like to thank Ernie Elliott and all of his crew for their hard work in providing us with a great motor."

For his efforts at Daytona, Keller received the Featherlite Most Improved Driver, Mobil 1 Oil Command Performance and Wix Filters Lap Leader Awards.

In addition to his teammates on the No. 27 team, Keller had extra support, which helped him cruise to a top-10 finish. Keller's No. 27 car featured the photos of employees from Kroger, Kimberly-Clark's long-standing retail partner, who had gone to great lengths in providing exceptional service.

The Kleenex Racing team looks to build upon the momentum as they head to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., for next Saturday's Stater Bros. 300.

-credit: bcr

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller