The Long Rain Delays Worth the Wait for CJM Racing at California (February 25, 2008) Fontana, Cal. -- CJM Racing headed out west in hopes of redeeming themselves after a late race accident knocked them out of contention just one week ago at ...
The Long Rain Delays Worth the Wait for CJM Racing at California
(February 25, 2008) Fontana, Cal. -- CJM Racing headed out west in hopes of redeeming themselves after a late race accident knocked them out of contention just one week ago at Daytona. Due to rain showers in the area, the crew would have to wait it out till Monday to see just what their two-mile program had in store for them. In the end, the long wait was worth it as the team excelled and drove to a 14th place finish.
The February 2008 California race will always be remembered for one thing; rain, rain and more rain. Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the Nationwide and Cup Series teams over the weekend. In the end, the skies cleared and on-track action resumed Monday for the running of both events.
CJM Racing and 42 other teams waited out the dreary days and hoped for a break in the clouds. Qualifying was cancelled on Saturday and in its place the teams were allotted an hour and a half practice session. Fortunately a short window of opportunity did present itself Saturday morning and teams were allowed to hit the track. Overall Keller was happy with the No. 11 CJM Racing entry and posted the 22nd quickest time at 41.115 seconds.
The joy of sunny skies was short lived as rain once again returned just as driver introductions began for the Stater Bros. 300. The result? A return visit to California Speedway the following day.
Mother Nature cooperated with NASCAR and the fans come Monday morning The skies turned blew and racing resumed.
Lined up by the 2007 owner points, Keller started the 150-lap event in the 32nd position. The starting position would not prevent the team from advancing through the field at a quick pace. Keller moved up 11 positions in just eight laps.
A status of the race car was reported under caution on lap 22. Keller reported in that the No. 11 was a little tight center off. With that said, he made his initial trip down pit road for four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment.
The changes did little to alleviate the handling problems so when the caution flag flew again on lap 49 Keller returned to pit road for a reversal on adjustments, four fresh tires and fuel. He returned to the track in the 17th position.
As the racing continued crew chief Todd Gordon noticed some torn sheet metal on the left front of the No. 11. Afraid that it would affect the downforce of the race car, Keller made a pit stop on lap 68 for repairs and fuel. The pit stop fell slightly off the pit cycle but enabled the team to have a little extra fuel to battle out the second half of the race.
Keller charged to the front after the repairs and as green flag pit stops began to cycle through on lap 96 the CJM Racing team found themselves running in the top-10.
A final caution flag on lap 108 allowed the team to return to pit road for fresh tires and fuel. Other teams opted for fuel only so Keller restarted in the 17th position. Despite running lap times consistent with the leaders the gap between positions only enabled Keller to gain three spots and finish out the day in 14th.
"We're very happy with the way the day went. The guys have worked hard on our intermediate program and the changes during the off-season appear to be a success. The car was great and if we had a few more laps I'm sure we could of pulled off a top-10 finish," Keller stated.
Keller will be awarded with the Featherlite Most Improved Driver award next weekend for his efforts at California Speedway.