MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA (September 30, 2017) – It was the first year they were able to get all three nights in under the relatively new 3-day format for the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway. The first two nights were filled with fast cars and some pretty good action out on the surface of the famous half-mile oval.
Night three was set with four cars – Donny Schatz, David Gravel, James McFadden and Daryn Pittman – locked in to the finale with the remaining cars assigned to four heat races based on their accumulated points. Jason, with 920 points, would start third in the fourth and final heat race aboard the Jonestown KOA/All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads #41 Maxim with the Zemco #1 of Dale Blaney to his outside. Those two drivers followed the front row of Greg Hodnett and Sheldon Haudenschild to the green flag with Hodnett jumping into the lead. Jason was running in the third position before Blaney used his momentum to shuffle the Eunice, Louisiana native back to fourth. He would get caught on the outside as Logan Schuchart and Trey Starks snuck by on the tricky racing surface. He stayed up on the wheel as Hodnett won the 8-lap heat race over Haudenschild, and Schuchart with Starks securing the final transfer spot and Jason coming up one position short. As the Schoenfeld Headers cooled in the pit area, communication came over the public address system that Starks had been disqualified for an illegal top wing moving the Ragin’ Cajun into the fourth and final transfer position.
He would start from the 15th starting position in the 55th Annual Champion Racing Oil National Open 40-lap feature. Donny Schatz led the field to the green and led the first 5 laps of the feature as Jason was in the middle of full blown chaos as cars were everywhere. David Gravel overtook Schatz for the lead and was setting a torrid pace as he reached the back end of the field. Jason was running in the 17th position when a yellow was displayed for a slowing Shane Stewart who shredded a left rear tire while running solidly in the top ten. When racing resumed, Jason started on the outside of the two-by-two aboard the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/K&N Filters #41 when the leader selected the outside row. The track was takin on rubber and the bottom line was the preferred line and everyone on the track wanted to be there. Needless to say if you are on the outside you have to be patient to get to the bottom. James McFadden had entered the mix and took the lead on lap 19 only to surrender it back to Gravel the next time around. With 12 laps to go, he was again looking to take the lead when a red flag was displayed as Shane Stewart, Jason and Kraig Kinser all got together on the bottom side of turn two with Stewart flipping as Johnson sustaining damage on the front and back side of his Maxim Racing entry as the tow truck escorted him back to the pit area. Under red flag conditions the JJR Marshall Racing #41 team went to work to make any repairs they could accomplishment in the limited amount of time and refueled the car. When the horn sounded, they turned the Engler Machine & Tool/www.racediecast.com car back around and pushed off down the pit lane for the remaining laps. Gravel would lead the remaining laps as he crossed the winner’s stripe ahead of Schatz, McFadden, and Logan Schuchart with Daryn Pittman rounding out the top five. Jason was able to secure a 17th place finish in the 55th Annual Champion Racing Oil National Open finale.