BARBERVILLE, FLORIDA (February 15, 2017) – Anticipation filled the air in Florida as the DIRTcar Nationals was getting set to roll at Volusia Speedway Park as there were 34 competitors and teams lining the pit area ready to fire off their engines. The JJR Marshall Racing #41 team worked hard over the winter to get their Maxim Racing hot rods ready for the season and when they rolled their equipment out of the trailer it was go time. They fired their Kistler Engine and when heat in the motors and warm ups were completed it was time to get down to business kicking off with time trials.
Jason waited patiently and when he got the green light to go he rolled out onto the track in his Priority Aviation Services/Fischer Body Shop #41 Maxim and pounded the loud pedal for his two qualifying laps. The sweet sound of sprint car power filled the air as he ran two strong laps. The first time around the fast oval was completed in an impressive 13.383 seconds. The Louisiana native kept his foot planted and improved his time the second time around completing the lap in 13.295 seconds. That time would be second quick overall on the night. A good start to their first night of racing.
Jason’s good qualifying lap positioned him on the outside of row two in the second heat race aboard his crisply presented Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/Waco Metal entry. He shared row two with Kasey Kahne Racing’s Daryn Pittman as they followed polesitter TJ Michael and defending All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) series champion, Chad Kemenah, who paced the field from row one. Kemenah jumped into the early lead and was setting a torrid pace in clean air, while Jason, Pittman and TJ Michael battled for the runner up spot. When the race for second cleared up Pittman took command of the position with the Ragin’ Cajun close behind in the show position. The three would cross the stripe that way with Mark Dobmeier coming home fourth and TJ Michael securing the fifth and final transfer spot.
Earning a spot in the Dash events, Jason would start third in the second Dash event. Chad Kemenah and Brad Sweet led the field to the green flag as Joey Saldana and Brian Brown drove around the top with Jason falling back to the fifth position. Kemenah would take the Dash victory ahead of Sweet, Saldana, and Brown with Jason coming home fifth.
The 30-lap feature was the final event on the race card on this night. The track was wide and fast and the racers were ready to put on a great show for the fans. The horns sounded as Jason pulled down one more time on his Crow Enterprizes safety belts to tighten them as he flipped down the shield of his Shell Shock custom painted Bell Racing helmet. It was race time at Volusia Speedway Park! He rolled the Custom Country Creations (CCC)/Valvoline machine into his tenth start position as the field was set to do some high speed racing on night one at the DIRTcar Nationals. When the green flag dropped he went to work inside the cockpit nestling into the eighth position with his yellow beadlock on his rear chrome Weld Racing wheel highlighting each revolution as he was making his way forward. Chad Kemenah was leading the way with Donny Schatz following in the second position. But it was the Ragin’ Cajun kicking the dust up as he made his way into the top five before getting by Brad Sweet for the fourth spot. On lap 14, Schatz got by Kemenah for the lead and Joey Saldana quickly applied the pressure on Kemenah for the runner-up position. But right behind them lurking was the Ragin’ Cajun. The three racers were racing tight together with Kemenah and Saldana on the high side and Jason running on the low side. Jason had a fast hotrod and on lap 16 he carried his straightaway speed and dove low entering turn one getting under both Saldana and Kemenah. But as the speedsters exited turn two, Jason’s momentum carried him up the track as he made his way up to the wall coming out of turn two as Saldana and Johnson made incidental contact sending Jason nose first hard into the outside wall and Saldana into a wild series of flips taking him outside of the track. Fortunately both drivers were uninjured, but their night of competition was over after strong showings. Saldana was scored with a 21st place finish, while Jason was scored 22nd. Donny Schatz would collect the win ahead of Kyle Larson, Kemenah and Pittman with Sweet rounding out the top five. While certainly not the ending the JJR Marshall Racing team work hard for to get the season started, the car showed a lot of forward speed and the team will recollect themselves and be focused and ready for another night of competition on Friday night when the World of Outlaws kick off the first of three nights of racing at the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.