ROSSBURG, OHIO (July 14, 2017) – Eldora Speedway was packed with sprint car racing enthusiasts and 54 teams as the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car series invaded for the Knight before the Kings Royal at the World’s Best Dirt Track. With white puffy clouds in front of a brilliant blue sky as their backdrop it was race day in Rossburg as Jason and the JJR Marshall Racing #41 team prepared for battle around the high-banked, half-mile oval in the House that Earl Baltes built.
Based on the number of cars registered in the pit area, the qualifying field was again separated into two flights, A and B, for time trials with each driver getting some individual time on the track to attempt to get around this oval the quickest with two laps granted to each competitor. By the luck of the draw, JJR car chief Jeff Bingaman drew the two pill, which would send the Ragin’ Cajun out onto the track for his individual performance in Flight A. The Louisiana-bred racer rolled to the staging area in the Waco Metal/Engler Machine & Tool #41 Maxim and waited for the first qualifier, Chris Andrews in the Burmeister #16, to complete his laps. He pushed up onto the banking and motored down the backstretch before taking the green flag. He drove hard around the cushion through the first set of turns before heading down the back straightaway, He then cut the corner and cruised around the low side of three and four before crossing the timing stripe at 13.216 seconds. That time put him to the top of the scoring pylon, but it was early. He ran a consistent second lap at 13.300 seconds, both laps which were fast but then waited patiently for the remaining 25 drivers to complete their laps. While some were close, no one was able to displace the Ragin’ Cajun from the top of the speed charts in Flight A.
Starting from the pole position in the first and fastest heat race, Jason pulled to the inside of row one with Brian Brown to his outside in his Maxim Racing entry. James McFadden and Rico Abreu were in row two as Trey Starks, Jordyn Brazier, Travis Philo, Trevor Baker and Sean Zemunik. As Johnson and Brown inched up to the white chalk starting stripe in turn four, Jason drove off the inside and drifted up to the front straightaway wall to take the lead. He has his Weld Racing wheel rolling as he used his Kistler Engines power to build up a significant lead. He was cruisin’ and built on his lead each lap before taking the checkers in front of Brown and McFadden as only the top three transferred into the A-Main. Rico Abreu and Travis Philo rounded out the top five.
Earning the pole position in the pre-dash inversion, the team was hoping for a zero pill to be drawn to keep the forty-one on the front row. When a four pill was pulled for the inversion it put the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Schoenfeld Headers #41 on the outside of row two for the start of the Craftsman Club Dash. Brian Brown, Ian Madsen and Kraig Kinser were in front of him as Christopher Bell and Chad Kemenah made up row three. Brown jumped into the lead at the start with Christopher Bell squeezing through a gap to move into third before stealing away the runner up position exiting turn two on the first lap. Jason shuffled back to fifth before passing Kraig Kinser to earn a fourth place finish behind Brown, Bell and Madsen with Kinser and Kemenah, who was unable to start the event, finishing behind him.
With 54 cars in the pit area, just making the 24 car field is a tall task which is magnified when you are racing against the best in the business. But these athletes are driven to win and they want to be the one on the stage with the pyrotechnics going off at the end of the night. After the four-wide salute to the fans and the huge booms from the fireworks on the backstretch, it was time to get them rolling at speed at Eldora Speedway’s historic half-mile oval. When the green flag waved and the dust kicked up Brad Sweet too the lead as Jason maneuvered in the middle of the pack for position. He was running in the tenth spot and was trying to make the high side work before others found a little bit of moisture on the bottom making it a quicker lane. Jason rolled down and kept the Fischer Body Shop/CCC #41 moving when a yellow was thrown with 9 laps to go. Christopher Bell had made the pass for the lead with Donny Schatz and Sweet right behind. The green came back out and chaos ensued with the Ragin’ Cajun right in the middle of the dust tussle. He fell back a few spots, but it was obvious mechanical issues were hindering his progress. Bell went on to take the win over Schatz and Sweet with Ian Madsen and Brown Brown rounding out the top five. Jason was scored with a 17th place finish as a bent right rear wheel influenced that result.
Jason and the JJR Marshall Racing #41 team will be back at it on Saturday night at the 34th Annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway!