Keller man to beat on Saturday

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR STAFF
jbirchfield@starhq.com

   Jason Keller dominated the spring Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1999, leading over half the event. He also comes to the high-banked facility with a 12-point lead over Greg Biffle in the series' points standings and is the choice of many to win Saturday's Channelock 250.
   He is looking for a milestone 50th career top-five finish in the series at BMS this weekend. His first top five came at Dover on September 17, 1994. Keller also has six wins in NASCAR's number two circuit with the last one coming four weeks ago at Rockingham, NC.
   He's coming off a tough run at Darlington this past weekend where he finished fourth, despite holding second place for most of the day.
   "I had a hard time reading the tires," said Keller. "We couldn't get the rear tight enough where it would drive through the corners. It's frustrating when I can't communicate to Steve (Addington) what the car needs."
   Still he is setting right where he wants to be as the tour invades Northeast Tennessee. "We set a goal at the beginning of the year to be leading the points by the fourth race, and that is what we are doing," said Keller. "We just can't afford to give up points on pit road, even if it's just four points. Don't get me wrong, the team is doing a great job and I am extremely excited about where we are in the standings, we just can't lose valuable positions on pit road."
   At BMS, Keller looks to improve on last spring's finish of 11th place.
   "I'm going to Bristol with the mindset that I'm going to win," said Keller. "We really struggled last spring at Bristol and that was very disappointing. I love concrete racetracks, so to struggle that way was tough.
   "I think we will be back on track at Bristol with the tires Goodyear is providing. It's the same tire we ran last year and we had a much better run going in the fall before we were caught up in a wreck."
   As Keller mentioned, he has had great success on concrete speedways. He has a win at Dover to go along with his win at Bristol and also won the pole for the 1999 Cheez-It 250 race. That makes him hunger even more for a win on Saturday.
   "I want to win this race," Keller commented. "I know how to win this race. We went with high hopes last spring and ran terrible, but I have more confidence heading into this race than I have ever had."