ROSSBURG, OHIO (July 16, 2016) – An idyllic day with temperatures in the high 70’s/low 80’s with a slight breeze blowing through all afternoon greeted the fans and the teams as they streamed into Eldora Speedway for the 33rd Annual King’s Royal. There were 60 cars at Eldora for a chance to wear the king’s crown bestowed only to the winner at the end of the evening, along with the check for $50,000, too, of course. The fans absolutely packed the house for this one and there was a feeling of excitement in the air. They certainly could not fit one more sardine into the can at Eldora, at least not comfortably.
For the drivers, the first order of business was laying down a good qualifying lap. The track crew did a tremendous job preparing the racing surface and keeping moisture in the track. These 410 sprint cars were getting around this place quickly. Jason climbed aboard the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/K&N Filters #41 Maxim and rolled onto the speedway 27th for his individual two lap performance. The roar from his Kistler Engines power filled the air as he sped towards the green flag. He was moving at speed and charged down the back straightaway and through turns three and four. When he crossed the timing line for lap one, the stopwatch read 13.551 seconds. Staying on the gas he maneuvered through the turns and came around the second time in 13.419 seconds, which ended up being an impressive 9th quick overall.
Using the unique King’s Royal format, which inverts the top 30 qualifiers into six heat races, Jason was slated to start fourth in heat race number three. With only the top three finishers moving into the King’s Royal feature event there is no time to waste. This type of competition is not for the faint of heart. Sprint Car Hall of Fame members, Danny Lasoski and Sammy Swindell, were on the front row with Travis Philo and Jason in row two. In row three it was David Gravel and Shawn Dancer. When the initial green was waved Jason had a great start but the green lights were replaced by yellow ones because Lasoski jumped too early on the start. Penalized one row, Lasoski was now in third and when the green flag was unfurled the Ragin’ Cajun bolted into the runner-up position in his forty-one just behind Swindell. Jason was driving hard in the Fischer Body Shop/Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution #41. After the final lap of the 10-lap race, Swindell took the win ahead of Jason and Lasoski as those three drivers locked into the prestigious 40-lap King’s Royal feature. David Gravel and Ryan Smith rounded out the top five.
After driver introductions on the stage, each competitor nestled into their respective cockpits and readied themselves for battle in the 40-lap, King’s Royal feature. Jason shared row five with Paul McMahan. As the Louisiana native peered through the shield of his Shell Shock custom painted Bell Racing Helmet fireworks and pyrotechnics were filling the skies around Eldora. When the field went to green flag racing, Jason wasted little time getting the forty-one up to speed. The racing was fast and furious in the early going with battles for position happening from the front to the back. The first half of the race was all about building speed, gaining positions and not knocking the walls down. Just at the midway point, lap 20, the yellow was displayed for a slowing Bryan Clauson in turn four as he shredded his right rear tire. At this point of the race Jason was running in the twelfth position. When racing resumed, Jason wheeled the car through the middle on the restart and picked up some valuable positions and real estate on the track. On lap 26, the red flag was thrown when Christopher Bell took a nasty flip in turn four. Under the red flag, Philip, Jeff and Jakob topped off the fuel, adjusted the air pressure in the rear tires and clear the wicker bills of the mud build up. Jason restarted tenth and when the cars started rolling again at speed he was one of the faster cars on the track. Using the high side and diving low when needed he was picking up spots and closing ground. When Donny Schatz took the win under the waving checkered flags just ahead of Rico Abreu and Brad Sweet, Jason brought home an eighth place finish for the JJR #41 team. It was the team’s 28th top ten of the season, which is a 48.28% top ten success rate to this point of the season. A great run and result for the forty-one at the 33rd Annual King’s Royal!