Jason Keller, driver of the No. 27 Kleenex Ford Fusion, makes his 14th appearance at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Keller discusses his favorite mile-and-a-half track, his mid- season signing at Baker Curb ...
Jason Keller, driver of the No. 27 Kleenex Ford Fusion, makes his 14th appearance at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Keller discusses his favorite mile-and-a-half track, his mid- season signing at Baker Curb Racing and reunion with crew chief Todd Gordon. This will be a special race for Keller because sponsor Kimberly- Clark's headquarters are located in Dallas.
IN 13 STARTS AT TEXAS, YOU'VE EARNED ONE POLE AND ONE TOP-10 FINISH. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING IN TEXAS? "It's just a fast race track there. You really search for a lot of aero balance and a lot of things you hoped you've prepared yourself for at the shop before you get there. It's a fast race track. The groove actually widens out a little bit as the years have run on the race track to where you definitely have some side-by-side racing. The biggest thing is to get as good an aero balance car as you can get and race hard."
DO YOU LIKE RACING THERE? "I do. It's probably my favorite mile-and-a- half track. For some reason it drives different than the Chicagos and the Kansases of the world. It's not that I don't like those places, it just seems like I can feel the race track a little bit more in Texas. It flats up really hard off turn two. It has some quirks to it that I typically look forward to."
TEXAS WILL BE YOUR FIRST RACE WITH BAKER CURB. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT SO FAR? "We knew that we were going to use the rest of '08 to get ready for '09. Not that we're going to throw away '08, but the transition has been as smooth as possible. It hasn't been painless. There's going to be some bumps in the road, but I'm really, really excited. I'm glad that we can do it now to be ready for '09."
MEMPHIS MARKED THE FIRST RACE YOU WERE REUNITED WITH CREW CHIEF TODD GORDON. "Yes, I'm back with my old crew chief which is extremely comforting for me. Now he can come in and see where the program is, see what we can do to make it better from the technical-side, the car-side. Everyone has welcomed him in, ready to go. The last four races are going to be a little difficult, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel."
TEXAS IS A SPECIAL PLACE FOR YOUR SPONSOR AS WELL. "Yes, I'm going to be meeting a lot of new people with Kimberly-Clark that I have not met. I'm learning this program off the track as well as on the track. There's a lot of things that have to be done. I'm excited to go out a day early in Dallas and meet with a lot of people that are part of this race program, an integral part, that I have not met yet. You learn more than just the wheels and tires. There's a lot of stuff you've got to do."
WHAT IS EASIER TO LEARN, THE ON- OR OFF-TRACK PART OF THE TEAM? "For me, being at the track. A company like Kimberly Clark has been in the sport, next year will be there 15th year. I'm not coming into something that they don't know anything about. They know the program. They know what makes it work for them. And I need to come in and see what makes it work for them as well, and to understand what makes it work. It's not just about exposure. They really do their program good on and off the race track. They haven't been here for 15 years by chance. They understand it, they understand how marketing can work for them. It's a good program to be involved with."
DID YOU SET GOALS WHEN YOU JOINED BAKER CURB RACING? "We're still fairly close to the top-10 in driver points. We fell back a little bit after the wreck last week in Charlotte, or two weeks ago. But that's still a goal. We're right there close to it and hopefully we can do it. It's going to be tough over the last four races, but that's definitely a goal."
-credit: ford racing