KILGORE, TEXAS (March 3, 2017) – After a two-week layoff following the DIRTcar Nationals in Florida, Jason and the JJR Marshall Racing #41 team were ready to get their Maxim Racing machine back on the track in Texas at LoneStar Speedway in Kilgore, Texas. Texas is a special place for the JJR Marshall Racing team as Jason and Bobbi have an affinity for the state because he drove for long-time car owners, Lanny and Alan Row from The Shop Diesel Service out of Greenville, Texas; Richard and Jennifer Marshall call Texas home as they are from San Antonio; and, some of their devoted sponsorship partners like Waco Metal, Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution and Country Custom Creations (CCC), all operate their businesses out of the America’s second largest state (Texas is the first largest in the contiguous United States).
There were 28 cars registered in the pit area on this beautiful early March day with the sun shining in the brimming blue skies overhead as the fans were finding their seats in the grandstands at the newly configured 1/3rd mile oval. Philip and the boys were making some minor adjustments following hot laps as Jason would be the tenth car out for his two qualifying laps aboard the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Waco Metal #41 Maxim. When the checkered flag dropped over Tim Shaffer, the Kistler Engine under the Cajun Sensation’s hood fired as he got up to speed. He took the green and was flying around kicking the dirt up as he sped down the straightaways. He was flying and when he crossed the timing line, he stopped the clock at an impressive 12.387 seconds, which was quick time of the night at that point of qualifying. The Eunice, Louisiana native kept his foot planted on the loud pedal and the second lap around his time was slightly slower at 12.392 seconds. When the final driver completed his two laps around LoneStar Speedway, Jason quickest time was fourth quick overall in the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/FK Shocks #41 behind Donny Schatz, Sheldon Haudenschild and Brad Sweet.
With three 8-lap heat races scheduled for the night, Jason would start on the outside of the front row for heat one beside Donny Schatz. It was a formidable heat race lineup with Kraig Kinser and Daryn Pittman in row two, David Gravel and Aaron Reutzel in row three, Jason Sides and Brent Marks in row four and rounding out the field in row five were Logan Schuchart and Paul Nienhiser. When the green flag was unfurled, Schatz roared into the lead with Jason chasing from the second spot. The two 2017 WoO winners to-date were flying as Gravel, Pittman and Reutzel were dueling for position right behind. Schatz would collect the heat race victory as Jason followed him across the line in the Fischer Body Shop/Kenny’s Components #41. David Gravel came home in third followed by Daryn Pittman and Jason Sides with Aaron Reutzel claiming the last transfer position.
Earning a spot in the Craftsman Club Dash for the fourth consecutive night on the WoO tour, Jason was eager to get rolling to see where he would line up for the feature event. An inversion pill of ‘zero’ was pulled, which meant the field would start heads up per their qualifying times for the six-lap event. Jason would start from the outside of row two with Brad Sweet’s NAPA Auto Parts #49 to his inside and Donny Schatz and Sheldon Haudenschild sitting on the front row. When the green flag waved, Schatz seized the lead as Jason raced his way into the show position behind Haudenschild. They would finish in that order as Sweet came home fourth with Tim Shaffer and Paul McMahan rounding out the finishing order.
The WoO officials and race teams had put on a good show for the fans to this point of the night. But it was now show time in the Lonestar state as all the engines fired for the 35-lap feature event. After the traditional four-wide salute to the fans, Jason settled into his fourth starting position and when the green lights replaced the yellow ones the Ragin’ Cajun drove hard into turn one securing the third spot behind race leader Donny Schatz and runner-up Sheldon Haudenschild. For the first 18 laps, Jason was closely following the top two aboard his Jonestown KOA/Weld Racing #41 Maxim when the first caution of the night was displayed for a slowing Wayne Johnson. The field regrouped in their two-by-two restart order and when they got back up to speed Jason snuck past Haudenschild into the second position. The top three were each separated by almost a second on the stopwatch when another yellow came out this time for Ian Madsen with 9 laps to go. Schatz would pick the outside line for the restart as Jason moved to the inside of row one as they prepared to go back racing. The green flag flew but it was quickly replaced by another yellow flag before a lap was completed when Reutzel, Joey Saldana and Jason Sides tangled in turn three. This time the field would restart nose-to-tail in single file order per WoO rules. When racing resumed, Schatz darted off in to the lead but Jason was talking his shot to wrestle the lead away. Schatz would have none of it and would go on to collect his third win of the season as Jason came home a close second ahead of Haudenschild, Sweet and Gravel.
In the first four races of the 2017 World of Outlaw (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series season, Jason has a win and two runner-up finishes. After the race, the proud driver explained, “You’re racing the best guy in the business (referring to Donny Schatz).” He continued. “He is not going to make any mistakes. Those guys are clicking and doing a great job.” Shifting over as he put on his owner’s hat and pointed out, “But, my guys have done a great job making great, consistent Maxim cars, and we communicated over the winter with Paul Kistler about the motors we had success with in 2016. We have great communication, and I’m in the best physical shape in my life as far as racing.” He concluded, “Mentally, I’m in great position because of the Jason Johnson Racing/Marshall Racing merger.” Jason and the JJR Marshall Racing team now start their trek west as they head to the Las Vegas Speedway Dirt Track next Thursday and Friday after this Saturday night’s show at Gator Motorplex was postponed by rain until Thursday, April 13th. Another great run for the forty-one!