NEW EGYPT, NEW JERSEY (May 24, 2017) – The rains postponed the running of the Jersey Outlaw Classic from Tuesday to Wednesday night as the 2016 Knoxville Nationals champion and the team used that additional time to prepare themselves and equipment to invade New Egypt Speedway’s D-shaped oval with a purpose. There were 29 cars entered for the night’s racing action as fans packed the stands to watch the best in the business go at it on their home track.
Jason rolled off 22nd for his two laps around New Egypt Speedway. The track was moist and fast with lap times being very consistent for the previous drivers whom completed their time trial laps. He pushed out onto the backstretch and used his Kistler Engines/Engler Machine & Tool power supply to get up to speed. He took the green and wisped through turns one and two and around the dog leg on the backstretch to carry his momentum into turns three and four and through the timing stripe on the front straightaway of the 7/16-mile oval. The clock read 13.800 seconds, which was 11th quick. He kept the pedal to the metal as he stuck the car through the turns and catapulted himself down the straightaways. His second lap was better at 13.746 seconds, which moved him up to 10th quick at the time until the last qualifier, David Gravel, ran the third quickest lap of the night to bump the Louisiana native back to 11th quick overall in the ISC Racers Tape/FK Rod Ends #41.
Lining up on the outside of row two in the second heat event beside Lucas Wolfe’s #5w in the Waco Metal/Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution #41 Maxim, Jason was poised to try to track down one of the top two finishing positions for an opportunity to run in the Craftsman Club Dash. The would be a tough task as Tim Shaffer and Jason Sides were on the front row and were not about to surrender one of the top two spots to the Cajun invader. When the green flag dropped, Sides would jump into the lead with Shaffer and Johnson giving chase. Sides would be in command of the top spot for the first seven laps until he rolled to a stop in turn four with mechanical issues bringing the caution out first, which then was replaced by the red when he exited the car on the track’s racing surface. Jason would take advantage of Sides’ misfortune and start second in the single file restart formation and follow Shaffer in the runner-up position throughout the green-white-checkered laps to secure the second-place finish as he was followed across the line by Wolfe, J.J. Grasso and Robbie Stillwagon with Tyler Ross rounding out the transfer spots.
Earning a spot in the Craftsman Club Dash for the 19th time this season he was slated to start fifth in the pre-dash inversion. When a young fan pulled an inversion pill that read “6” it would put Brad Sweet and the Ragin’ Cajun on the front row with Donny Schatz and David Gravel in row two, and Tim Shaffer and Shane Stewart in the third and final row for the six lap race to determine the A-Main starting lineup. When the cars rolled through turn four and pounded the accelerator it was Jason who drove into the lead over Sweet. He was in clean air and motoring around New Egypt. With each passing lap he was extending his lead in his Valvoline/Jonestown KOA machine and led wire-to-wire to take the Dash win and earn the right to start on the pole for the feature. David Gravel finished second followed by Sweet, Schatz and Shaffer with Stewart rounding out the six car finishing order.
The show was being run very efficiently as the brisk, cool winds picked up. The track was in terrific shape and provided a good racing surface for the competitors. Jason pulled to the inside as the always popular four-wide salute to the fans formed with fireworks popping in the sky. It was race time at New Egypt Speedway with 30 laps of high speed action ahead. The green lights illuminated around the speedway and Gravel drove from his outside starting position in his CJB #5 and into the top spot with Jason running in the second position. On lap 6, Tyler Ross rolled to a stop bringing out the caution. The Eunice, Louisiana born native would restart from the second spot and when they got back up to speed, third starting Brad Sweet wheel bumped Jason’s Weld Racing wheels as the forty-one dropped back in the show position behind Gravel and Sweet. The red flag was displayed the very next lap with Jason running in the third position as Jason Sides and Dave Blaney got upside down between turns one and two collecting Davey Sammons and Daryn Pittman. Another double file restart and Schatz would steal the third position as he drove to the outside in the first set of turns to seize the position. Jason was now running fourth with Shane Stewart right behind him as the top five were bumper to bumper for a number of laps racing in between lapped cars. Jason slid up coming off two and Stewart slipped by with two to go. Gravel would collect his eighth win of the year ahead of Schatz and Sweet as Stewart and the Ragin’ Cajun rounded out the top five. It was Jason’s 13th top five finish in the 2017 season, a 38.24% top five success rate. As the driver and team loaded up the started their trek south for their scheduled race at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on Friday night to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. Three top ten finishes in four of the five races completed, with one rain out at Weedsport, on the tour’s first swing through the competitive sprint car area of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. A good run for the forty-one at New Egypt Speedway!