Keller Fights His Way Back Into the Top 10 in a Backup Car [IMAGE]NASHVILLE, Tenn., July, 20, 2009 -- After wrecking late in practice Friday, Jason Keller and the KleenexÂ® Racing team were forced to go to their backup car for Saturday's ...
Keller Fights His Way Back Into the Top 10 in a Backup Car
[IMAGE]NASHVILLE, Tenn., July, 20, 2009 -- After wrecking late in practice Friday, Jason Keller and the Kleenex® Racing team were forced to go to their backup car for Saturday's Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway. Keller, who started the race from the 30th position, made his way into the top 20 by the third lap and went on to finish the race ninth.
Keller had maneuvered the No. 27 Scott® Products Ford Fusion in to the 16th position when he was lapped by race leader Kyle Busch on lap 60. The veteran driver fought hard to remain the first car one lap down, and when a caution occurred on lap 76 Keller was awarded the lucky dog, putting him back on the lead lap.
Kleenex® Racing crew chief Todd Gordon called for a gas and go pit stop under caution on lap 94 moving Keller from the 12th position into fifth when the race went back to green on lap 100. Despite battling a loose car, Keller remained in the top 15 and raced back into the top 10 when the final caution occurred on lap 177.
Keller brought the Scott® Products Ford Fusion down pit road and the team lowered the track bar down three rounds in and effort to tighten the car and allow Keller to make one last charge towards the front of the pack. When the race went back to green with 18 laps remaining Keller was in the ninth position. After losing one spot to Brad Keselowski with three laps to go, Keller passed rookie Erik Darnell during the race's final lap to finish in ninth position.
"We were very fast in practice, but unfortunately I put us in a pretty big hole having to go to the back-up car," said Keller "The Kleenex® Racing crew did a great job of getting the car ready in a short period of time and we ended up with a solid finish. Now we need to build off the momentum and get back to running consistently in the top 10 like we did for a stretch of races earlier in the season."
For Keller it was his fifth top-10 finish of the 2009 season, eclipsing his total from 2008 with 16 races remaining on the schedule. The top-10 was also his ninth in 12 career NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Gateway International Raceway.
Keller moved up to ninth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings and looks to advance further into the top 10 as the series heads to O'Reilly Raceway Park Saturday for the running of the Kroger 200 at 7:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN.