MESQUITE, TEXAS (October 18, 2014) – Rebounding after facing disappointment and adversity is always difficult for anyone, including the athletes that drive these sprint cars. With two miles to go in Friday night’s preliminary action, just four more laps around Devil’s Bowl Speedway, Jason was forced to relinquish the lead when a u-joint broke in the driveline and banged up his right ankle. A great run for the JJR and Stenhouse Jr. Racing team was unceremoniously derailed, but nothing was going to keep the man they affectionately call the Ragin’ Cajun from getting back into his ButlerBuilt Professional Seat System for the finale of the 41st Annual Winter Nationals – not even the lingering swelling and soreness he was experiencing. They certainly build them tough in Eunice, Louisiana.
With 44 cars back at the Mesquite, Texas half-mile oval, everyone was once again going to have to stand on the loud pedal to make their way into the final field of competitors racing for the winner’s trophy. One of those competitors was the gritty four time and defending ASCS Champion who now calls Rocky Mount, Missouri home. He had the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Waco Metal #41 Maxim ready to get back on the fast track.
Jason did not have to wait long as he pushed off in the first heat race along with the likes of Wayne Johnson, Seth Bergman, Stevie Smith and Johnny Herrera. He had the Pro Powder Coating (PPC)/ISC Racers Tape mount on the inside of row three in the fifth starting spot. Eight laps and a tough field all wanting to earn the most passing points to lock themselves into one of the remaining feature redraw spots. The outside front row starter, Wayne Johnson, jumped into the lead and led the distance as Jason moved up one spot and crossed the stripe in front of the flagman in fourth.
Not earning enough points to advance directly to the feature event, the team went to work getting the forty one ready for the first of two 12-lap B-Mains. The Cajun Sensation started on the outside of row two and powered his way into the runner-up position behind pole sitter Brandon Long. The two would put on a high speed show for the fans as Long took the win with Jason coming home in the second position to move into the feature event field of twenty four.
The Winter Nationals is a race most drivers have on their bucket list to win. Jason has enjoyed victories in this event before, but that has not dulled his appetite to add another one to his resume. The forty one team is certainly ready to get back on to the top step of the podium, but they would have their work cut out for them on this night as they gridded the field from the nineteenth starting position in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/AccuDoc Solutions #41 on a track that proved very tough to pass on. When the green flag waved, pole sitter Matt Covington seized the lead as Jason was a little further back wheeling his mount using his KSE Racing Products to steer and maneuver around trying to find passing lanes on his way forward. He tried high, then low, and then through the middle. Whatever worked he was taking. He was having some success but not enough to make him a threat for the win. Covington would go on to take the prestigious win ahead of Dusty Zomer, Aaron Reutzel who took the final two podium spots with Jeff Swindell and Derek Hagar rounding out the top five. Jason drove hard the entire distance and brought his Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Fischer Body Shop #41 Maxim home with a respectable tenth place finish. A good rebound after a win vanished the night before when the mechanical gremlins came out.