ROSSBURG, OHIO (July 15, 2017) – Fans have flocked to Rossburg, Ohio every year for the last 34 years, in the middle of July, for an event that Earl Baltes created in his mind and then made a reality – the Kings Royal. The winner takes home a $50,000 paycheck, but the race format is certainly a challenging one. 24 cars. No provisional starting spots. And, the fastest drivers in time trials start on the inside of row three in their heat races with only the top three cars transferring to the Kings Royal feature field. There were 53 cars lined up in the pit area, and not an inch of room in the grandstands as Eldora Speedway was absolutely packed.
For the second night in a row, Jason would roll off second aboard the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/BMRS #41 Maxim for his time trial qualifying laps right behind Donny Schatz. He would stand on the gas and circle the high banked half-mile in 13.631 seconds on lap one. Staying focused and driving hard he turned his Hoosier Racing Tires a bit quicker the second time around with a lap of 13.558 seconds. When the final car stopped the clock, the quicker of Jason’s two laps was fourth quick overall. A quick start to the night, but it is important to note the fastest drivers have an uphill climb with the inversion of five in the heat races.
Starting from the inside of row three in the fourth heat race, the Rocky Mount, Missouri resident had formidable competitors to deal with as Logan Schuchart and Jac Haudenschild were on the front row and Brent Marks and Paul McMahan were in row two. Jason shared row three with Ian Madsen as Craig Mintz, Jordyn Brazier, and Max McGhee rounded out the starting order. When the green flag dropped Haudenschild jumped into the lead with Schuchart giving chase. Jason was fighting for the fifth position when the caution flew. Restarting from the inside, when they got to the starting stripe he dove low and was in a three wide battle for the third and final transfer position. When the last lap was completed, Haudenschild took the win over Schuchart and Marks to lock into the A-Main. Jason would finish fifth.
Heading to the 15 lap Last Chance Showdown (LCS), the unique format aligns the starting order based on heat race finish versus reverting back to your qualifying times. This meant the Ragin’ Cajun would start tenth in the LCS versus from the pole. He pulled the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads #41 into position as the front row of Ryan Smith and Shane Stewart brought them to the green flag. Stewart was in the point position with Smith, Ian Madsen and David Gravel all in hot pursuit. Right behind, Jason was racing with Dale Blaney, Dominic Scelzi and Gary Taylor for position. He was trying the high line, then the low line making every attempt to get up to fourth to no avail. The fierce competitor was driving hard but ran out of laps as Gravel inched passed Stewart at the line to take the victory as Ian Madsen and Ryan Smith secured the final two transfer positions.
A tough night for the JJR Marshall Racing #41 team, but one they will learn from and put behind them as they head east to Pennsylvania for more racing action on Tuesday night at Lernerville Speedway.