BARBERVILLE, FLORIDA (February 7, 2018) – After a busy few months over the winter filled with hard work and detailed preparation, Jason and the JJR racing team rolled the impressive red Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) #41 Maxim out of the hauler at Volusia Speedway Park for the first of five consecutive nights of racing in the 47th Annual DIRTcar Nationals with the opening night being presented by the All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC). The pit area was brimming with 34 competitive sprint car teams registered to race. It was time to go racing – sprint car style – in Florida to kick off the 2018 racing season.
After drawing the 57 pill, Jason would have to wait patiently in his new P1 Performance Racewear suit, #P1Posse, emblazoned with all of his sponsor’s logos as he would be the 31st car to hit the track for his two time trial laps. He climbed into his custom fitted Fibreworks Composites seat and buckled his Crow Enterprizes safety belts. The crew pushed him into the staging area and when it was his turn he went out and pedaled down on the loud pedal to take the green. His first lap around Volusia Speedway Park was a good one at 13.703 seconds. Not content, the Louisiana speedster kept the hammer down and improved his time the second lap around to 13.663 seconds, which placed him 14th quick overall.
When the heat race lineups were posted on the chalkboard, the MVT/Jonestown KOA #41 was slated to start on the outside of row two in the fourth heat race. Brent Marks and Tony Stewart would share the front row, with the defending ASCoC Champion, Chad Kemenah, sharing row two with Jason, as Joey Saldana and Trey Starks comprised row three. Marks would take the early lead, but it was Kemenah and Johnson making their way forward and fast. Kemenah darted into the lead as the Ragin’ Cajun was taking a workmanlike approach in his efforts as he passed Tony Stewart to move into third, and then used the low line in three and four to slide by Marks for the runner-up position near the midway point of the qualifying race. Kemenah would go on to take the win as Johnson was closing at the end with the top two finishers advancing into the Wix Filters Dash. Brent Marks came home third followed by Stewart in fourth as Saldana rounded out the top five.
The first of two Dash events was up next on the night’s agenda with the starting lineup putting Chad Kemenah on the pole with Danny Dietrich to his outside, Shane Stewart and Jason Johnson shared row two, as Sheldon Haudenschild would start from the fifth position. Kemenah would jump on the gas and lead wire-to-wire as he took the Dash victory over Dietrich, as Jason brought the MVT/Factory Kahne Shocks #41 Maxim across the line in third ahead of Shane Stewart and Sheldon Haudenschild.
The ASCoC officials kept the program moving along after an early rain delay slowed the pace as the 8 minute horn sounded soon after the Last Chance Showdown took the checkered. Jason would start fifth in the feature field lineup aboard his Mesilla Valley Transportation entry. Chad Kemenah and Brad Sweet would bring the field to the green with Sweet seizing the top spot on the scoring pylon. When they passed under the flag stand to complete the first lap, Jason had been shuffled back to the seventh position in the running order, but not for long. He got back up on up on his Max Papis Innovations (MPI) steering wheel and started his methodical march forward. He was on the move and trucking forward. With five laps in the books he moved into the fourth position and was closing on the leaders. He was relegated back to fifth when Donny Schatz and David Gravel entered the picture at the front of the field, but he stayed on the gas and hit his marks. Schatz made his way to the lead position with Sweet and David Gravel right behind, but on the last lap The Ragin’ Cajun snuck by Kemenah to claim the fourth position at the checkers as Kemenah rounded out the top five. A solid run for the forty-one team on the first night of the 47th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
Truckin’ to a Fourth Place Finish with Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)!
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