CHICO, CALIFORNIA (April 2, 2016) – After their fifth place finish at Ocean Speedway on Friday night, Jason and the JJR team headed 4.5 hours up the coast for some Saturday night racing action at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California. It was the Mini Gold Cup, an event that is always on the racers schedule and never fails to provide excitement. This night would be no different as 25 drivers and teams were in the pits making up a very competitive field.
Time trials certainly gives the drivers and teams an early indicator related to where they are at in comparison to the other team. Jason rolled out ninth for his two time trial laps aboard the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/KSE Racing Products #41 Maxim. He wasted little time darting around the fast and challenging quarter mile oval as his first lap came in at 11.732 seconds. He kept the hammer down and had his Kistler Engine purring, but his second lap was just slightly slower at 11.869 seconds. When the last competitor tripped the timing light in qualifying, Jason and the JJR team would secure the eighth quickest time of the night in the JJR entry.
Starting second in a stacked third heat race with names like McMahan, Stewart, Schatz, Madsen and Croft it was go time for the pedal masher who resides in Rocky Mount, Missouri. There were only two spots up for grabs to advance to the Dash event and everyone wanted them. Jason flipped the shield down on his Bell Racing helmet and pulled to the inside of row two for the start of the race. The Fischer Body Shop/Pro Powder Coating (PPC) Maxim was ready to go for a high speed ride with a Cajun sitting behind the wheel. When the “get going” flag waved, Paul McMahan jumped into the lead with Skylar Gee running close behind. Jason wheeled his mount from the show position and struck a little luck when runner-up Gee lost a wheel bringing out a caution. On the restart, Jason was to McMahan’s inside, but McMahan would take the win as Jason secured the final transfer spot to the Dash directly ahead of Shane Stewart, Kerry Madsen and Donny Schatz with Willie Croft coming home in the sixth and final transfer position.
The Dash event was the next order of business for Jason and the JJR team. After the number four inversion pill was pulled, Tyler Walker was on the pole with Daryn Pittman to his outside. Jason and Kyle Hirst would make up row three as they followed Paul McMahan and DJ Netto as they paced around Silver Dollar. When the engines came to life, Walker would get the lead as everyone else was giving chase. Hirst had problems that forced him to the pits, but when the six laps were completed everyone finished in their original starting spots with Jason coming home fifth in his Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) machine.
After the Last Chance Showdown concluded, it was the main event. The 24 car field was set and it was now time to see the Greatest Show on Dirt race around Silver Dollar Speedway to see who would win the 2016 Mini Gold Cup. Jason climbed into the cockpit of his Maxim Racing chassis and buckled into his Crow Enterprizes safety equipment. Starting from the inside of row three, when the green flag waved he dropped his right foot and accelerated into the fourth spot behind race leader Tyler Walker. The first of many caution flags on the night would fly regrouping the field. Lining up for the restart in their two-by-two order, Jason got up to speed but hit a rut and got up over the cushion and flipped his #41 machine in turns one and two. He pushed back to the work area and the JJR team showed their grit and determination as they went to work changing the front axle. They only had two minutes, but worked feverishly with the help of some members of the Larson Marks team, Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR) team and some of the other teams. Before racing resumed to green flag conditions, the Priority Aviation Services/K&N Filters #41 was tagging the rear of the field. An unbelievable showing of sportsmanship and teamwork.
In the cockpit, Jason refocused and went to work. When racing resumed, Walker surrendered the lead to DJ Netto who was setting the pace and showing the way. Jason was working methodically through the field and before you knew it was running in the tenth position. Not satisfied, he stayed on the gas and on this wild and wholly night took advantage of every opportunity, and others’ misfortunes, to gain every precious position on the track. In front of him, Netto was still leading but with five laps to go ran out of fuel which gave the lead to Donny Schatz who would go on to defend his Mini Gold Cup title ahead of Daryn Pittman, Shane Stewart, and Dominic Scelzi with David Gravel rounding out the top five.
Jason raced the wheels off of it and crossed the finish line with a hard earned seventh place finish on the night. Overcoming every obstacle that confronted them on this night, the entire JJR team showed why racing truly is a team sport as their work together resulted in their twelfth top ten finish in 21 races year-to-date. After the race, Jason made sure to point out the other teams that assisted in the work area. He explained, “I really need to thank the KKR and Larson Marks guys and other team members that helped us out.” Continuing he stated, “Plus, my guys just did a great job. These JJR guys are a special group.”
Somewhere throughout the night, Jason and the JJR team must have found a lucky penny at Silver Dollar Speedway during the Mini Gold Cup. While you never know how much a penny’s worth of luck may get you, we sure do know on this night it resulted in a seventh place finish, and just as importantly, a lot of respect and admiration for the teams that pitched in to help out during our time of need. Thank you!