BARBERVILLE, FLORIDA (February 9, 2018) – It has been 97 days since the checkered flag fell to end the 2017 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series season at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. Lots of things have changed in those days, but one thing that stayed consistent is Jason and the JJR #41 team’s desire, focus and determination to continually improve their team and overall performance while racing against the best in the business night-in and night-out. They would get that chance as the 2018 World of Outlaw celebratory 40th Anniversary season kicked into gear on Friday night at Volusia Speedway Park as part of the 47th Annual DIRTcar Nationals.
There were 35 cars lining the pit area outside the turn one and two’s catch fence at the fast half-mile dirt oval. Jason would be the 33rd car out to get up to speed to lay his two time trial qualifying laps down aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Greber Racing Components #41 Maxim. With a tap on his rear nerf bar his Kistler Racing Engine came to life and he pounded the accelerator. He took the green on the fast racing surface and stopped the clock the first time around in 13.317 seconds. His second lap would come up short as he was off the pace and slowed as he turned into the infield pit area. Fortunately, his first lap produced a decent enough time as it placed him 18th overall in the final time trial rundown.
When the heat race lineups were matriculated and posted, the Ragin’ Cajun would race in the second heat event and start from the fifth starting spot beside Donny Schatz. Cory Eliason and Parker Price-Miller would be in row one with Greg Hodnett and David Gravel in row two. Eight laps with only the top five finishers advancing on to the A-Main feature. The green flag waved and the engines came to life. Price-Miller led lap one with Jason settling into the fifth and final transfer spot. The track was fast, with a bump in turn one that was creating some chaos, but the event went green-to-checkered with Price-Miller taking the victory over Gravel, Eliason, and Schatz with Jason bringing the Jonestown KOA/Fischer Body Shop #41 home fifth.
The 30-lap A-Main feature event was the only competition left for the night. The track was still lightning fast and the 26 car field was set. Jason would line up in row nine with Kraig Kinser as the field spread into their four-wide salute to the fans for the first time in 2018. It was a Standing Room Only (SRO) crowd as there was not a seat to be found. Each fan had their driver of choice they wanted to see in victory lane. When the field took the green, it was Paul McMahan jumping into the lead aboard the Buch #13. They were flying around this half-mile oval, but the speed was slowed when David Gravel and Tim Shaffer flipped hard in turn two resulting in Shaffer getting caught up in the catch fence. The track crew needed some time to clean up the accident scene and fix the divots in the racing surface that were caused during the crash. Jason would restart 15th in the MVT/Waco Metal #41 Maxim when racing resumed and was on a mission as he fought his way into the top ten. The 18th starting Ragin’ Cajun and 14th starting Donny Schatz were putting on a show as they made their way through the field. With three laps to go, second running Ian Madsen hit the bump entering turn one and started bouncing before riding the wall and flipping in turn two. Under the red flag conditions the drivers patiently waited to run the last 1.5 miles of the race. Jason would restart from the seventh position when they went back to green. When the yellow lights illuminated he flipped the shield of his Shell Shock Paint custom prepared Bell Racing helmet and was ready to get back to work. He did just that on the single file restart and when the checkered flag flew it was Sheldon Haudenschild collecting his first WoO career win over McMahan who had a tire going down and Shane Stewart. Donny Schatz came home fourth with Cory Eliason rounding out the top five. Jason ended his charge on this night with a 7th place finish to kick of the 2018 WoO campaign. A great run for the forty-one!
The Ragin’ Cajun Charges Forward 11 Positions to Earn a 7th Place Finish!
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