NASHVILLE, Tenn., May, 4, 2009 – Jason Keller and the Kleenex® Racing team continued to show signs of improvement by finishing ninth in the Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday. With a seventh-place finish at Talladega, the team registered its first back-to-back top-10 finishes under Baker Curb’s ownership, and the first for the No. 27 team since David Green finished in the top 10 three consecutive races in 2005.
Keller was the first to take the track in qualifying on Friday afternoon and despite turning a strong time ended up qualifying in the 17th position. When the green flew Friday night Keller began to move the Huggies® Ford Fusion towards the front and by lap 35 had moved into the 10th position.
After settling into the top 15 for most of the race, Keller went a lap down on 198 when he was passed by Carl Edwards during a long green-flag run. Keller spent the rest of the night battling to get his lap back and the Kleenex® Racing team’s hard work paid off when the caution flew on lap 232 just after the No. 27 passed Brian Scott to move into position for the “lucky dog”. After starting 10th on the final restart Keller moved the No. 27 Huggies® Ford Fusion around the No. 38 of Jason Leffler into ninth position to earn his second consecutive top-10 finish and third of the 2009 season.
“All in all this was a good day for the Kleenex® Racing team.” Keller said. “Qualifying 17th wasn’t what we had hoped for, but we were a little unlucky with the draw. The car was strong all night and a couple things went our way at the end of the race enabling us to bring home another top 10. After struggling with the same car in Phoenix I really have to hand it to Todd Gordon and the crew for making big strides in our short-track program in such a short period of time.”
As the first quarter of the season comes to a close, Keller stands seventh in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings, the highest the No. 27 team has been at that point in its 11-year history between Brewco Motorsports and Baker Curb Racing. Baker Curb Racing currently stands 11th in owner points after finishing the 2008 season 24th, the largest improvement of any team that ran full-time last season.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Keller’s home state of South Carolina for the running of the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway Friday at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN 2.