PEVELY, MISSOURI (August 4, 2017) – After a few days off during a demanding part of the World of Outlaw Craftsman Sprint Car Series schedule, Jason and the JJR Marshall Racing team meandered through the fields of geometric shapes that are cared for and tended to by hard working and great people, America’s farmers, as they made their way across Missouri to Pevely to race in the grueling Ironman events on back-to-back nights at Ken Schrader’s Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. There were 37 cars throughout the pit area ready to get rolling.
At Pevely, the cars align in the infield after each of their hot lap sessions and enter the track up the banking of turn two so they can build up some speed before they take the green to start the clock. Jason was the fifth car out and got the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/K&N Filter #41 Maxim up to speed. He took the green and had his right rear Hoosier Racing Tire up on the high side of the track. He was moving, at least that’s what the blur in my eye’s was telling me, and when he crossed the timing light the numbers revealed I just wasn’t seeing things. The stopwatch said 11.053 seconds, which was quick time. The Louisiana racer did not give his Kistler Engines power a break and strategically stayed up on the wheel as he motored through turns one and two and down the back stretch. He dove low this time through three and four and crossed the finish line with a sub-eleven second lap at 10.917 seconds. It would be the only 10 second lap of the night making him the quick timer on the Prelude to the Ironman at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.
Starting on the pole of a loaded first heat race that had Donny Schatz sharing the front row with David Gravel and Rico Abreu right behind in row two as Brent Marks, Gary Taylor, Paul Nienhiser, Jacob Allen, Clyde Knipp and Joe Miller rounding out the starting lineup. The ten 410 engines rumbled around the track and when they came up to the chalk stripe the engines came to life as they drivers dropped their right feet to get them singing. Jason powered off the bottom and drifted to the outside of the race track ahead of Schatz at the start. Schatz got into an immediate tussle with a determined Gravel for the runner-up position as Jason cruised up front. With the air flowing over his Vortex Wing, he methodically hit his marks ever so close as he was truckin’ in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/FK Rod Ends Maxim. His lead was growing as he encountered the back of the field in the waning laps of the ten lap event, but he crossed the stripe a straightaway ahead of Schatz as Gravel, Abreu and Marks secured the final transfer positions.
Racing in his 36th Dash event of the 2017 season, an impressive 65.45% success rate, he started from the fourth position after an inversion pill of four was drawn. These Craftsman Club Dash events are exciting because they are filled with talent. Add in a racy, 3/8 mile oval and you got the ingredients for some pretty fan-friendly entertainment. Sheldon Haudenschild and Paul McMahan brought the field to the green as Daryn Pittman and Jason followed in sync. The racing lanes were numbered, but these talented drivers were making some moves that had the nervous fans chewing on their fingernails. Jason and Brad Sweet were racing hard and when they caught Haudenschild it was on the front stretch. Jason got into the back of Haudenschild impacting his front wing, but he stayed on the loud pedal. Pittman would take the win over eighth starting Kraig Kinser as Sheldon Haudesnchild came home in the show position with Schatz, Sweet, Johnson, McMahan and Jac Haudenschild completing the finishing order.
All the qualifying was complete and the 24 car field was set. Jason lined up on the outside of row three in the Fischer Body Shop/Pro Powder Coating (PPC) #41 for the 35 lap race. The track had taken on rubber throughout the night, so track position was going to be key. The green flag waved and Daryn Pittman seized the top spot with Sheldon Haudesnchild and Schatz in a tight battle for the runner-up position as everyone else fell in line. After the first six laps the track had rubbered over leaving the bottom as the only place with any stick, if you could really call it that, around Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. Jason was in the sixth position as he was trailing Sweet who held the last position in the top five. They were nose-to-tail and occasionally you could see some of the drivers getting impatient as they awaited the driver in front of them to slip up. Pittman made his way into lap traffic, who also were manning the bottom line around the track, and things started to bunch up and get interesting. The first caution of the night came out on lap 20 as Carson Macedo rolled to a stop at the exit of turn four. The yellow was extended due to debris in turn three, but due to track conditions officials opted to restart in the single file order versus the tradition two-by-two restart arrangement. Pittman led as Schatz, Haudenschild, Kinser, Sweet and Johnson followed. Greg Wilson thrives on tracks like this and he was nipping at the tail tank of Johnson’s forty-one in the seventh position. With six laps to go another caution came out, this time for Shane Stewart who came to a stop at the end of the front straightaway with smoke coming from the engine area. Pittman brought them back up to speed under green flag conditions and took the win, his first of the year, as he crossed the finish line ahead of Schatz, Haudenschild, Kinser and Sweet with the Ragin’ Cajun coming home sixth. A disciplined and patient run for the driver of the forty-one!