PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA (March 23, 2016) – Jason and the JJR team have been very consistent in 2016 from a speed and performance perspective. That consistency is a direct result of all of their hard work during the off season back in Rocky Mount, Missouri. As the team prepared their Priority Aviation Services/Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) #41 Maxim Racing machine for the evening of racing there was a lot of reflection upon their return visit to Placerville Speedway. Last year at this event, an unfortunate accident on the front stretch occurred resulting in serious injuries for both Jason and Daryn Pittman. Both quality individuals who have fought their way back through hard work and persistence.
There were 33 sprint cars ready to compete in the 2nd Annual Short Track Outlaw Showdown presented by Brad Sweet and Riebes Auto Parts. After drawing the “16” pill, which was the ninth highest pill drawn, the speedster from Eunice, Louisiana would push off early for his two time trial laps aboard the Fischer Body Shop/Valvoline #41. California native Sean Becker set the bar high with a quick lap of 10.601 seconds. When Jason got his Weld Racing wheels turning he circled the quarter mile oval the first go round in 10.882 seconds. He stayed hard on the throttle and used all the horsepower coming from his Kistler Engine to improve his second lap time as he stopped the clock at 10.613 seconds. When the last car shut the engine down to close out time trials, Jason’s time was 2nd quick overall on the night.
He was looking forward to keeping the momentum rolling under the moon light on this night as he started from the pole position in heat race number two with Andy Forsberg on the outside of row one. When the yellow lights converted to green around the track, Jason jumped on the loud pedal and seized the lead. He led the entire 10-lap distance and took home the heat race victory to advance to the Dash.
For the 6-lap Dash event, he would get moving from the inside of row three. Andy Forsberg and Daryn Pittman would lead the field to the green, Jason slid into the fourth position as the racing action is always close and exciting on this little bullring. Pittman would grab the win followed across the finish line by Forsberg and Kerry Madsen with Jason crossing the stripe in the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/Jonestown KOA Maxim in fourth.
The 40-lap A-Main was the next order of business on a beautiful night for sprint car racing. The grandstands were full and brimming with excitement. The sky was filled with a full moon as the crews made their final changes. Jason climbed into the cockpit of his Maxim Racing chassis and secured his Crow Enterprizes safety belts as buckled the straps on his Bell Racing helmet. It was go time!
He positioned himself on the outside of row two with Madsen to his inside and Pittman and Forsberg in the front row. After the four-wide salute to the fans it was time to go racing. Forsberg, a native Californian, runs these tracks with precision and expertise and he took the point position over the field when racing went live. Pittman was running second as Jason moved into the third spot. On these small tracks, the leaders catch up to the rear of the field quickly so you always have to be up on the wheel at Placerville fighting the traffic at the same time you are battling with the drivers vying for the lead. The Cajun Sensation, aboard his Priority Aviation Services #41, was able to slip by Pittman using the high side through turns one and two for the runner-up spot and quickly set his sights on running down the race leader. He was patient and smooth using the bottom and middle of the speedway as his pathway forward. He closed the gap, reeling in Forsberg as the leaders approached lapped traffic. On lap 14, Johnson would make his move on the outside coming off turn four to take the lead from Forsberg. He kept his rhythm and started to extend his lead before a caution flew near the halfway point of the race. On the restart, Jason continued to execute like he was before the caution as Pittman and Sweet got by Forsberg to take the place and show positions. Before the leaders took the one-to-go sign, the yellow was displayed for Joey Saldana. It was a green-white-checkered race to the finish and Jason was up to the task as he crossed under the checkers ahead of Pittman, Forsberg, and Gravel with race promoter and competitor Brad Sweet rounding out the top five.
In victory lane, after climbing on the tail tank to celebrate with his son Jaxx, Jason quickly credited his team and sponsorship partners for their dedication and unwavering support. He explained, “We have a tremendously strong team right now, and things are clicking. It is fun!” Continuing as he paused to remember his night ending a year ago very differently on the front stretch, he stated, “Daryn and I were standing there in the Dash and I was like ‘man I would be happy just walking out of here tonight’ and then we finish one and two.” A great ending to a year-long story highlighted by determination, focus, perseverance and an never-ending desire to race competitively with the best in the business! A great run for the forty one driver, team and all of their sponsorship partners!