It has been since September 2018 when Mason Keller won a race, doing so with an exciting last-corner pass in a JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race at Winchester Speedway. Since then, he has scored six top-fives between Pro and Super Late Models, but hasn’t added any more victories.
With his first race of 2021 set for this weekend at Montgomery Motor Speedway, he has his mind set on a return to victory lane.
“A win of any kind in this day and time would be big for me, whether it’s a ‘who can tie their shoes the fastest’ race or a 200-lap race,” Keller told Speed51. “Anything now for me, I’m getting desperate, I’ll try to win anything.”
Keller was one of the four championship contenders with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour in both 2018 and 2019, finishing runner-up in series points in 2018 and third in 2019. He then ventured into Super Late Models in 2020, highlighted by a fifth-place run in the Winchester 400.
He has more of the same planned for this season, splitting time between Supers and Pros.
“I’m pretty excited, it’s nice to see this COVID stuff die down a little bit and we’re not really as restricted. I don’t feel like we have to be couped up at home so it’s nice to get back to the racetrack and have some fun. This year we’re going to try to pull ourselves together and hopefully have a better season than last year.”
Saturday’s Alabama 200 will be Keller’s second trip to Montgomery for the marquee event. Despite having one of the fastest cars in race conditions one year ago, his race ended early after mechanical issues.
He enters Saturday’s event with more confidence stemming off his Alabama 200 experience one year ago.
“We fought some electrical issues the last time we were down there but we did get the car running and had to start dead last in the race. We worked our way all the way up into the top-ten, almost the top-five. I felt like we had a good car before it crapped out. I think it helps just knowing the track now for sure. Going back this year, just having some laps there I can feel more confident going into the race. Hopefully the car will be 100% compared to last year when we had some issues with it.”
After sticking around the Midwest for several years, Keller has ventured south from his Indianapolis home more frequently. Along with last year’s Alabama 200, he also made starts at the Rattler 250, All American 400 and Snowflake 100. The overall goal from these trips have been to get better behind the wheel, no matter if it comes the easy way or the hard way.
“It’s helped a lot because the more you race, the more you learn. Ideally you want to be in the race car every weekend and if it was up to me I would be. When you travel down south you run into a whole different level of competition. It’s the same way when you travel up north, you run into guys like Brian Campbell and Johnny VanDoorn and them guys, then when you go down south you’ve got to fight Nasse and Pollard. It really puts into perspective who you can really battle with and what you need to go home and work a little bit harder on and take notes to battle with.
“It seems like every time we travel out of our comfort zone in Indiana we kind of get our tails handed to us a little bit. It’s been a tough learning curve but you’ve got to do it to get any better. It’s for sure been hard but we’re getting a little bit better.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo