MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA (July 25, 2015) – The grandstands and infield were fill with fans and the energy in the pit area was high on the second night of the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway. There was $20,000 on the line for the first one across the finish line with an additional $5,000 for the winner in recognition of winning the Morgan Cup. There were 39 cars back at the track trying to do what they could do to add to their bank accounts.
Where and when you go out for time trials is so important. The little ball that rolls out of the container is sometimes one of the most important things that happens off the track. The higher the number, the later you go out for your time trial laps. Unfortunately, for the second night in a row, Jason and the JJR team selected a pretty high number, which meant they would be the very last car out for time trials on this night. Jason wheeled his Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Momentum Racing Suspensions #41 Maxim down the long straightaways at Williams Grove and looped around the paperclip shaped oval in 17.427 seconds on lap one. His second lap was a bit slower at 17.447 seconds, but the quicker of his two times was 18th quick in Qualifying Flight #2. The team had their work cut out for them on this night.
Jason pushed off for the fourth heat race and rolled into his ninth starting position in the Pro Powder Coating (PPC)/K&N Filters machine. Brent Marks and Daryn Pittman made up row one and at the start Marks seized the lead and set the race pace. Jason was using his KSE Racing Products to maneuver around the surface. He was making every attempt to generated speed through the corners and pick up spots, but in the end was only able to advance one position to finish eighth as Marks took the win over Pittman, Brian Montieth, and Shane Stewart with Aaron Ott coming home in fifth.
Finding himself deep in the second of two Last Chance Showdowns, Jason climbed into the cockpit in his Jonestown KOA emblazoned Oakley racing suit, pulled on his Shell Shock custom painted Arai Helmet and yanked his Crow Enterprizes safety belts tight. He had twelve laps to try to secure one of the two transfer positions up for grabs to get into the prestigious Summer Nationals. Starting from the eighth starting spot would not make that task easy. Jacob Allen and Doug Esh brought the field to the green with Allen leading the way. Jason wasted little time getting up on the wheel as he moved into the top five. The field by this point was spread out so the chase was on. In clean air, Allen was setting sail at top speed with everyone in tow. He would hold on to take the win over Esh, David Gravel and Lance Dewease with Jason coming home fifth.
Contemplating what to do, the JJR team owners – Jason and Bobbi Johnson – elected to use a provisional to put the Fischer Body Shop/Valvoline Maxim into the Summer Nationals feature field. He would be starting in the 27th starting spot, but their Maxim Racing entry was in the show. Sammy Swindell, driving a second CJB Motorsports entry, and Joey Saldana led the field under pace laps, but it was third starting Aaron Ott who led lap one. Jason used the low side of the speedway to gain some positions early and was battling for positions each lap. Back at the front of the pack, Ott relinquished the lead to Stevie Smith, who was driving a throwback Black Bandit paint scheme his father use to pilot back in the day, on lap eight. Smith would go on to win the Summer Nationals main event as Jason worked his way up to the 22nd spot at the finish.
Running with the Outlaws is challenging for even the best teams. Add in the always tough PA Posse competitors and the tasks grows exponentially for all the drivers and teams. While not the type of weekend Jason and the JJR team were looking for at Williams Grove, the team continues to learn and persevere and will continue to dig hard as they move forward on their high speed adventure in 2015.