KNOXVILLE, IOWA (August 13, 2015) – It’s the Knoxville Nationals. Nothing comes easy this week. When you unload on your qualifying night, securing one of the sixteen coveted lock-in positions to Saturday night’s 55th Annual Knoxville Nationals is the goals. In order to do that you must generate points in every event you participate in on your qualifying night.
Jason and the JJR team worked hard prepping the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Fischer Body Shop #41 Maxim for Thursday night. There were 57 competitors vying to make their name known as they racked up points. The track was prepared to perfection. The teams were ready. And, the fans were amped. In time trials there is very little margin for error. Every tenth of a second on the stopwatch counts. At the draw window, Braden from the Saich Family pulled the gambling chip with a “49” written on the front. When all the numbers were assigned it meant Jason would push of 34th for his two lap show. When he rolled his Hoosier Racing Tires onto the track he pounded the loud pedal and called for all the power and speed he could get from his power plant built by Paul Kistler and the guys at Kistler Engines. The track times were slowing slight with each and every competitor, but Jason’s first lap came in at 15.784 seconds. He kept the hammer down and ran a slightly cleaner lap to improve his time on the second lap crossing the stripe in 15.618 seconds. His time was 13th quick overall on the night.
When the heat race lineups were set, they invert the eight quickest guys in each heat race, Jason was scheduled to start on the outside of row three in the Waco Metal/Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) speed machine. Every position counts. Before the heat races got started Sam Hafertepe, Jr. was forced to scratch which moved Jason up to the outside of row two for the start. When the green flag waved he wasted little time making tracks. He moved into the second position and was chasing Dusty Zomer’s Buffalo Wild Wings #82 with Dale Blaney pursuing him each lap. Zomer would take the win ahead of Johnson, Blaney, and Randy Hannagan who all advanced directly to the 25 lap A-Main.
When the A-Main lineup was announced Jason found himself on the front row with Danny Lasoski. Lucas Wolfe and Sammy Swindell were in row two with names like Joey Saldana, Dale Blaney, Kerry Madsen, Brad Sweet, Steve Kinser, Stevie Smith and Tim Shaffer behind them. Remember, nothing is easy at Knoxville. Lasoski jumped into the lead using the bottom side of the track at the onset with Jason racing hard around the top in the runner-up spot aboard the Dissolvalloy Frac Ball Revolution/Valvoline #41. The Louisiana-born chauffeur was pushing the pace and when a caution flag flew on lap 4 he was in second behind Lasoski with Lucas Wolfe on his rear nerf bar. On the restart the running order stayed the same with Terry McCarl now making his presence known as he moved into the show position. Another caution on lap 8 for Dale Blaney who hit the wall in turn two, and Sammy Swindell who blew an engine, regrouped the field. On the restart, Johnson made his move for the lead as he dove low going into turn three with Lasoski on the topside. Lasoski maintained the lead. Jason bobbled a little coming off turn two giving McCarl a lane for the pass and he made it stick. The top three were setting a torrid pace. McCarl chased down and took the lead from Lasoski with the Cajun Sensation in third. A late red for Brooke Tatnell who flipped in turn four regroup the field. When racing resumed, with fuel loads getting very low, they finished the event with Terry McCarl taking the win followed by Danny Lasoski, Jason in the Jonestown KOA/K&N Filters Maxim, Kerry Madsen and Brian Brown from the 23rd starting spot.
A great run for the forty one! He accumulated 469 points, which was the ninth highest point total out of the 109 entries who generated points in the two nights of qualifying, which locked him into Saturday night’s 55th Annual Knoxville Nationals feature field. He will start on the inside of row five beside Sheldon Haudenschild. Come out and support Jason, the JJR team and their sponsorship partners at Knoxville!