HARTFORD, MICHIGAN (September 21, 2016) – Jason and the JJR #41 team’s fall trek eastward continued on Wednesday evening at Hartford Speedway in a make-up race that was postponed by Mother Nature earlier in the year as rain fell on the event at the end of July. Jason and the JJR crew had their beautifully prepared Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Wilwood Disc Brakes #41 Maxim ready for action at the track that bills itself as the “Wicked Fast Half Mile” – Hartford Speedway. There were 25 cars entered in the pit area to make some speed around Hartford’s lightning quick half mile oval.
Jason was the sixth car in the staging lane to push off for his two-time trial laps. His Kistler Engines motor came to life as he pushed off down the pit lane and entered the track off turn four. He laid down a good first lap at 16.211 seconds, and followed it up with another consistent, but slightly slower, second lap at 16.317 seconds. The track was fast and continued to get faster with more laps as time trials went on. The 2016 Knoxville Nationals champions best time at the end of qualifying was good enough for only 16th quick overall on the night.
The heat race lineups were posted and the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution Maxim that is driven by the Ragin’ Cajun was in the first and fastest heat race. He would be starting out of the six hole and had some fierce competitors in front of him on the track. The front row was comprised of quick timer of the night, David Gravel, who was flanked to the right by the returning Paul McMahan. In row two was Sheldon Haudenschild and the always fast and tenacious Shane Stewart. There were six transfer spots up for grabs and when the green flag waved the drivers quickly started to give chase and work hard to earn one of those coveted transfer positions. Gravel and McMahan were battling for the top spot, but McMahan was a man on a mission as he took the point position and set sail in his #7. Jason moved into the top five and was part of the high speed chase around Hartford Speedway. McMahan went on to take the heat race victory ahead of Stewart, Gravel, and Haudenschild with Jason bringing home a top five finish. Dustin Daggett finished in the sixth spot to gain the final transfer position.
When all of the night’s qualifying was completed, the starting field was set for the 25-lap feature event. Jason would roll off at the start from the 13th starting position with Joey Saldana to his outside. Donny Schatz was on the pole with Shane Stewart commanding the second starting spot. When the green waved, Stewart got a good start and powered off in his Larson Marks Racing #2. He led the field as Jason was working feverishly inside the office of his Maxim Racing speed machine. An early caution slowed the field, but when they got back to green Jason was on the move as he worked his way into the top ten. The speeds were high and the racing action was exciting for the fans in the stands. Stewart continued to lead Schatz at the front, but the racing from there on back was fast and furious. The Ragin’ Cajun was marching forward picking off one position at a time and before you knew it he was as far up as sixth in the running order. A late race caution again regrouped the field and when racing resumed Jason lost a few positions in the running order. The hard working Stewart would lead the race flag-to-flag to earn his seventh win of the year as he was followed across the finish line by Schatz, Tim Shaffer, David Gravel and Daryn Pittman. Jason brought his Waco Metal/Jonestown KOA #41 home with a tenth place finish, his 46th top ten of the 2016 season – a 56.79% top ten success rate. In addition, during the last 20 races, Jason and the JJR #41 team have finished in the top ten an impressive 18 times. They also collected two wins during that twenty race span with wins in the prestigious 56th Annual Knoxville Nationals and more recently at El Paso County Raceway. A great stretch of competition for Jason and the JJR team!