The Heat is On: Jason Keffer Joins JR Motorsports for NASCAR Heat Pro Series

Ron Lemasters | 5/13/2019

eNASCAR Jason Keffer NASCAR Heat Pro League News

The inaugural NASCAR Heat Pro League season is days away and we're ready to introduce you to our drivers, starting with our PS4 contender - Jason Keffer.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 13, 2019) – Jason Keffer grew up cheering for Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports. A NASCAR fan most of his life, the Air Force veteran never imagined being a “teammate” of his racing idol and of Dale Earnhardt Jr., but now that it’s happened...well, it’s proof that dreams do come true.

The 33-year-old West Virginia native was drafted by JR Motorsports for the inaugural NASCAR Heat Pro Series season and will be the team’s PlayStation 4 driver (No. 7 Chevrolet) in the esports competition. For him, it was profound experience.

“It couldn’t be more exciting,” he said of learning that he was to be one of JR Motorsports’ next drivers. “I love NASCAR and I’ve always been a Jeff Gordon fan, along with Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick was one of those teams where you were like, ‘oh, man, what if they drafted me?’...I didn’t think I had a shot at all to get drafted by JR Motorsports. I think that was the No. 1 overall premier team to go to.

“When they called my name, man...I got a little emotional, a little choked up. When they called me on the phone to talk to me, I had to stop and take a breath. I couldn’t believe it. To be part of JRM and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as a team...I still can’t believe it at times. I think at some point I’m going to wake up and it’s not going to be real. It means everything. I’ve been a fan for a long time and watched Dale Jr. come up through the ranks...it’s been exciting.”

The journey from recreational gamer to professional sim racer for Keffer was somewhat typical, he said.

“I had NASCAR Heat and then NASCAR Heat 2, and started racing in some leagues, private leagues online,” Keffer revealed. “I got competitive and then got with a group of guys and we raced all the time. When Heat 3 came out, we continued our personal leagues, but when the Pro league came up, we all wanted to be part of it. I did the tryout and, I guess, ran well enough to get drafted.”

Rather than focus on the iRacing aspect of NASCAR esports, Keffer pursued the console games for the availability, he said.

“The availability,” he said of choosing the PlayStation route. “It is $60 to buy it (the game), and you get all the tracks, all the cars and it’s all right there. It feels pretty realistic. That’s why I really like it.”

The Sony PlayStation is all he’s ever known as a driver, and he’ll stick with it, thanks very much.

“I have always had a PlayStation,” he said. “Going all the way back to the PS1 and now up to the PS4, I have stayed loyal to what Sony has provided. I think the game plays great on this console and in my opinion, has the best overall group of racers.  I want to race with the best and beat the best and it seems to me the best are on PS4.”

As a driver, Keffer says he’s not going to win the pole very often, but he’ll be there when it counts.

“I would say patient,” he said when asked to describe his style. “I typically do not qualify well, whether it’s in the exhibition races or even the league I run. I usually qualify middle to back, but I’m usually right there at the front at the end of most every race.

“When it gets down to crunch time, I’m usually there. I just try to be patient, don’t try to drive it 100 percent every lap. I’m usually watching my fuel, watching my tires and taking care of the car, trying to be there at the end.”

That style has worked for as long as NASCAR has been around, so there’s a solid basis in reality for Keffer.

Competition is key in the esports world, and Keffer plays weekly in a league that is well-represented in the NASCAR Heat Pro League. That means you’re racing weekly against several competitors you’re familiar with, and even share setups with at times.

“The league that I race in, there’s seven guys who got drafted from that league,” Keffer said. “We all work together a lot and share setups, ideas. I may give someone a setup and they’ll tweak it to what works for them. I’m not very good at short tracks, so one of them will give me a setup for a short track and I’ll make an adjustment, tweak it to suit me. I have some setups that I’ve built up from scratch, but mostly, they are ones that we built as a group.”

Keffer has an interesting background as well. Joining the Air Force at the age of 17 as an enlisted air-crew member is not something many people get to do. He was part of the AWACS program (Airborne Warning and Control System) for several years before switching to the Office of Special Investigations. He spent time overseas in action areas during the War on Terror after graduating from a select school, and transitioned from there to Protective Service Operations for the Secretary of Defense. After his tour of duty was complete, he attended the University of West Virginia, where he was the Veterans Council Student President. During his tenure he organized a charity golf tournament to raise funds for student veterans, an event that still takes place each year. Upon moving to Charlotte with his 11-year-old daughter, Keffer worked as a financial crimes investigator.

“I have always wanted a challenge and have always worked to be part of something that very few do,” he said. “When the Pro League was announced, I decided that moment I wanted to be a part of this and I was going to work as hard as I could to show what I have when it comes to racing and marketing and I would give 100 percent at all times.

“I also love racing and NASCAR and the fact that I could become of member of a real team was amazing.  All of the things I have done in my life but this, even though, yes, it is a video game, has to be the most exciting so far. To be able to be a member of a team like JR Motorsports is really an amazing opportunity and I am extremely happy I tried out and would do so again in a heartbeat.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • May 25 01:00 PM ET
    Alsco 300 at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway
  • June 1 01:00 PM ET
    Pocono Green 250Pocono Raceway
  • June 8 01:30 PM ET
    LTi Printing 250Michigan International Speedway
  • June 16 05:30 PM ET
    Iowa 250Iowa Speedway
  • June 29 03:30 PM ET
    Camping World 300Chicagoland Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Allied Steel Buildings 200

Dover International Speedway | 5/4/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick4620
2Christopher Bell439-23
3Cole Custer391-71
4Austin Cindric381-81
5Justin Allgaier348-114
6Chase Briscoe #335-127
7John Hunter Nemechek #325-137
8Ryan Sieg315-147
9Noah Gragson #304-158
10Michael Annett297-165