MESQUITE, TEXAS (April 27, 2018) – It is sure nice to return to one of your favorite place every once in a while! Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Texas is just that type of place for Jason as it has always been a favorite for the driver from Eunice, Louisiana who will be piloting the Smiley’s Racing Products #41 Maxim the entire weekend at the Texas Outlaw Nationals. He loves racing at the track as it always brings out so many fans, friends and family. In addition Devil’s Bowl was the first track where he saw the World of Outlaws race when he was a kid, so there are fond memories for sure. With brilliant blue skies filled with sun overhead, the beautifully presented Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) transporter pulled in and parked on the famed backstretch at the birthplace of World of Outlaw racing when Ted Johnson started the series 40 years ago – Devil’s Bowl Speedway. There were 23 formidable sprint car teams registered to race for the trophy at the end of the evening lining the pit area.
As the sun was setting over turn three, the cars pushed out for hot laps. Jason was in the third group to hot lap and had the Smiley’s Racing Products/FK Shocks #41 movin’ and groovin’ around the half-mile oval as he was the only driver to record a lap in the 13 second bracket at 13.951 seconds as the track was getting faster with each session. That speed set the tone for the night for the JJR #41 team.
The track was fast, and getting faster, as some of the early drivers set the mark low as there were a number of lap times in the 13 second bracket when the Ragin’ Cajun pushed off from the staging area for his turn. Jason would be the 18th car out for his time trials laps and the Ragin’ Cajun wanted to keep his speed and drive moving his entry forward to end the night as high as possible on the time trial scoring charts when all was said and done. The red Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Smiley’s Racing Products #41 pushed off and took the green flag as the clock was set in motion. He circled the track perfectly and stopped the clock at 13.363 seconds, which set a New Track Record (NTR) and surpassed the one that was previously held for 19 years by Mark Kinser at 13.530 seconds. Not satisfied, Jason stayed on the gas and his Kistler Engine/All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads/Engler Machine & Tool power performed again as he lowered the mark even further on lap two with a time of 13.306 seconds which now stands as Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s new, one lap track record.
Starting from the pole position in the first and fastest heat race by time trial laps, the Ragin’ Cajun would start on the front row alongside Kasey Kahne, as Jason Sides and Tucker Klaasmeyer made up row two. The remainder of the field was filled in with talented drivers Ian Madsen, Greg Wilson and Brent Marks with Dane Lorenc starting from the eighth position. When the green flag was unfurled over the field, Jason jumped on the gas and catapulted the private family-owned Waco Metal/Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution #41 machine to the front of the field with Kahne racing close behind. Johnson kept the pedal mashed and started to build a sizable lead. In fact on the third lap, the Louisiana speedster turned in a lap of 13.288 seconds, which was quicker than his record setting time trial lap. With two laps to go, Dane Lorenc came to a stop erasing Jason’s 2.5 second lead over Kasey Kahne. When the racing resumed, Jason maintained his lead over Kahne as the two finished at the front ahead of Madsen, Marks, Sides and Wilson who all rounded out the transfer positions.
When qualifying for the Sears Craftsman Dash, the draw is so important. While he was pleased with his NTR in time trials and the heat race win, he paused to thank the fans who came out to support them and then credited his MVT crew – Philip, Tyler and Patrick – for all of their hard work on the forty one to make it fast on this night. When he pulled a wrench from the toolbox there was a number four on it, which put him on the outside of row two with Donny Schatz to his inside for the start of the Dash. Daryn Pittman and Logan Schuchart would start at the front as Kasey Kahne and Shane Stewart would commence the Dash from row three. It was time to go racing . . . Sears Craftsman Dash style! Pittman took the lead at the green with the field falling in line according to their starting positions. They would finish exactly how they started with Jason bringing the Smiley’s Racing Products #41 home fourth.
On the first night of the Texas Outlaw Nationals only 25 laps sat between the field of competitors and the winner’s trophy and check. Polesitter Daryn Pittman brought the field to the green with Logan Schuchart and the Ragin’ Cajun close behind as the engines roared around Devil’s Bowl Speedway. The Eunice, Louisiana native was bad fast in the Smiley’s Racing Products/Valvoline #41 Maxim and wasted little time making a bid for the lead as he went to the high side and passed both Schuchart and Pittman for the top spot before a yellow was displayed for a slowing Ryan Robinson who rolled to a stop off turn four negating Johnson’s pass for the lead. Pittman returned to the point position for the restart with Schuchart, Johnson and Schatz poised right behind him in the running order. Pittman chose the outside lane for the double file restart and led the field under the waving green flag again. This time Johnson moved into the runner-up position with Schuchart a close third. Pittman started to put some distance between himself and the next two drivers, but Johnson and Schuchart closed the gap when the leader approached lapped traffic. Before you knew it the top three drivers were nose-to-tail as Jason got close enough to attempt a pass and dove low out of four with a bid for the lead just as another yellow was thrown, this time for Channin Tankersley who rolled to a stop. Restarting from the inside row on the next restart proved to be a slight disadvantage as the outside line was definitely the faster of the two lanes. When Pittman pounded the gas Schuchart followed him into the runner-up spot with the Ragin’ Cajun commanding the show position. Pittman would collect the win and the cowboy hat as Schuchart and Jason rounded out the remaining podium spots with Donny Schatz and Brad Sweet rounding out the top five.
Jason and the MVT #41 crew will work hard to improve and get back at it on Saturday night for the second and final night of the Texas Outlaw Nationals at Devil’s Bowl Speedway!
JOHNSON MAKES A STATEMENT WITH A NEW TRACK RECORD AT DEVIL’S BOWL!
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