CHICO, CALIFORNIA (September 10, 2016) – After overcoming multiple obstacles and challenges that were presented on the first night of the 63rd running of the Gold Cup Race of Champions Friday night, Jason and the JJR #41 crew were back at the track on Saturday ready to get rolling in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Schoenfeld Headers #41 Maxim at Silver Dollar Speedway. There were 37 cars lined up throughout the pit area and every one of the drivers wanted the same thing – the winner’s trophy at the end of the night!
After hot laps were completed, the cars were called the staging area for time trial qualifying. Jason was the fourteenth car in line as the beautifully presented Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Wilwood Maxim was poised to get moving on the demanding quarter mile, high-banked track. It was time. His Kistler Engines powerplant came to life and he took the green. He buzzed around this oval quickly the first lap stopping the watch at 11.899 seconds. Staying on the loud pedal he wheeled his Maxim Racing machine out of the fourth turn the second lap and crossed the line with a better lap at 11.741 seconds, which ended the session 18th quick overall.
Scheduled to start fifth in the second of four 10-lap heat races, Jason pulled on his red Oakley racing gloves and was ready to steer his Waco Metal/Winters Performance Products #41 forward. Brad Sweet and Andy Forsberg were on the front row and got the action started as the wisped under the waving checkered flag. David Gravel and the Ragin’ Cajun followed the front two close behind as they attempted to make a run forward as they paced with the leaders. Sweet would go on to take the heat race victory over Forsberg, Sweet and Johnson with Jason Statler securing the fifth and final transfer position.
The last order of business for the night was the 40-lap Gold Cup Race of Champions finale at Silver Dollar Speedway. The Cajun Sensation shared row seven with fellow World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series competitor Jason Sides for the start of the feature, as Paul McMahan and Austen Wheatley manned the front row. After the four-wide salute to the fans who were packed under the covered grandstands, McMahan led the field the first five laps. The Ragin’ Cajun though was putting on a high speed show of his own as he powered his way forward aboard the Fischer Body Shop/Custom Country Creations (CCC) #41 at the drop of the green to secure the eighth running position in the field. He passed six cars early and he wasn’t done by any means. He stayed up on the wheel and moved into seventh, then picked up another position as he moved as far forward as sixth with 12 laps remaining. A little further front, McMahan surrendered the lead to Rico Abreu back on lap six and the California native was showing the field the way in the Abreu Vineyards #24. With 12 laps to go, a caution waved regrouping the field. On the restart, Jason lost a position, then another, and then another. Something was going wrong. He fell back to tenth before slowing and rolling to stop on the track to bring out a caution with seven laps to go. A right rear shock was broken on the forty-one after 33 hard laps on this challenging and demanding little oval. It forced him pit side and his great run forward was unfortunately derailed as he was scored with a 21st place finish, which was not reflecting of his speed and the effort on the night. Abreu went on to take the win over Daryn Pittman, Andy Forsberg and Shane Stewart with Wheatley rounding out the top five.
The team will now start their eastward journey with a stop in Calhan, Colorado on Wednesday night for a race at El Paso County Raceway before continuing on to Clay County Fairgrounds in Spencer, Iowa for the Arnold Motor Supply Shootout on Friday night. It you are coming out to the races, be sure to stop by and say hello to Jason and the team, as well as, swing by to visit Bobbi and Jaxx at the merchandise trailer to get your 2016 Knoxville Nationals Champion race gear!