JACKSON, MINNESOTA (June 8, 2018) – Following the race at Fairbury American Legion Speedway on Tuesday night, the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series teams drove their haulers eight hours and pulled into the town of Jackson, Minnesota. They arrived so they could participate in the hauler parade for the fans on Wednesday evening. The beautiful JJR/Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) hauler made its way through the streets of Jackson to the delight of the fans who came out to the festivities.
After a night with a pause of high speed racing action on Wednesday, the speed stars with wings were ready to go racing in the 40th Annual AGCO Jackson Nationals at the Jackson Motorplex on Thursday evening. However, Mother Nature, as she has done so many times this season, reared her head and had a different idea. Rain started to fall and washed out Thursday night’s program. Rather than scrapping the show, officials made the decision to move it to Saturday afternoon, as they will race a doubleheader that day. As the skies cleared over Jackson Motorplex on Friday, the 42 teams registered to race unloaded their equipment to kick off the popular 3-race event.
The large field of cars was divided into two groups for qualifying with 21 cars assigned to each group. Jason and the JJR #41 team would be the seventh car out in the first group of qualifiers for time trials. With a tap on his rear nerf bar, his Kistler Engines/Engler Machine & Tool/All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads engine came to life and he got up to speed taking the green flag around the lightning quick Jackson Motorplex surface. The stopwatch read 13.100 seconds after his first lap as he stayed on the hammer aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Jonestown KOA #41 Maxim. This time he was quicker at 13.038 seconds, which was good enough for second quick in the first group of qualifiers for the night.
Making sure to keep the momentum moving in the right direction, the Ragin’ Cajun started from the pole in the second heat race of the night in his nicely presented MVT #41 Maxim with Kraig Kinser to his outside in row one. The remainder of the starting lineup consisted of Cory Eliason, Logan Schuchart, Justin Henderson, Matt Juhl, Brent Marks, Travis Whitney, Paul Nienhiser and Eric Shultz. When the green flag waved, he did the Cajun shuffle into the lead and was sowing the way around this beautiful facility. Johnson would lead all eight laps to take the heat race victory over Eliason and Kinser with Schuchart and Marks securing the final two transfer spots to the feature event.
Securing a starting spot in the Sears Craftsman Dash, he had to draw to see where he would start the 6-lap race to set the feature starting lineup for the first four rows. With the potential of incoming weather, officials made the decision to scrap the frontstretch activities and draw in the World of Outlaws Command Center. Jason drew a “6” pill and would start on the outside of row three in the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/Valvoline #41 Maxim. The Dash field was loaded with talented with the likes of Shane Stewart, Ian Madsen, Daryn Pittman, Cory Eliason, Brad Sweet, Lynton Jeffrey, and Jason Sides. It would be Lynton Jeffrey jumping into the lead at the start and showing the way. Jason was running in the fifth position and racing hard with Stewart. The two speed chauffeurs were dueling for position, with Stewart on the inside and Johnson on the outside, entering turn three when the tight racing pushed Johnson up over the cushion losing the position. He did a masterful job saving the car and finished the event in seventh as Jeffrey took the win over Pittman, Sweet, Sides and Stewart with Ian Madsen coning home sixth. Cory Eliason finished eighth after catching the cushion on the opening lap and flipping his Roth Motorsports #83 entry.
The track was ready. The fans were equally excited. In addition, the track officials and crew at Jackson Motorplex did a fantastic job pulling in the racing surface to give these speedsters a quality surface to race on. Thirty laps sat between the starting field and the $10,000 winner’s check awaiting someone in victory lane. Jason would start from the inside of row four aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Waco Metal #41. Philip, Tyler and Patrick made their final adjustments to do their part on the forty-one. Jason climbed into his office and buckled his Crow Enterprizes safety belts before flipping the shield down on his Shell Shock custom painted Bell Racing USA helmet. It was time to go racing at Jackson! Lynton Jeffrey would battle with Daryn Pittman for the lead from the drop of the green flag as Jason moved into the sixth position in the early going. He would make his way up to fifth before a caution flew over the field. With the odd numbered positions restarting from the outside row, when the green flag was displayed, Jason got all four WELD Racing wheels of the MVT #41 Maxim Racing entry above the cushion and made a bold move by Brad Sweet and Jason Sides to move from fifth to third coming out of the first set of turns. Another caution slowed the action and on the next restart, Daryn Pittman stole the lead from Jeffrey as Jason moved his forty-one into contention as he and Jeffrey were battling for the runner-up position. Jason would enter turn three in the higher lane and make the pass as he now set his sights on tracking down the race leader. Johnson was closing and as the leaders approached some lap traffic, he made his move and took the lead coming out of turn four on lap 16. Pittman was not going away though as the two high speed daredevils navigated through some of the slower traffic at high speed. Brad Sweet would attempt to enter the mix as he and Pittman were racing hard giving the Ragin Cajun an opportunity to extend his lead. He would go on to collect the win and celebrate with his son Jaxx and his hard working crew in victory lane as Pittman came home second, Sweet third with David Gravel and Brian Brown rounding out the top five.
After night one, Jason and the JJR #41 team sit atop the points with 350 points followed by Daryn Pittman (343), Brad Sweet (342), David Gravel (332) and Lynton Jeffrey (330). The rained out Thursday evening make-up show will be run Saturday afternoon before the finale takes place Saturday night.
Smiles All Around as the Ragin’ Cajun Captures His First Victory of the 2018 Season on the Opening Night of the Jackson Nationals!
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