ROSSBURG, OHIO (July 15, 2016) – There were blue skies overhead and it was a beautiful day for racing in Rossburg, Ohio at the famous Eldora Speedway, billed as The World’s Greatest Dirt Track. The atmosphere throughout the pit area was electric as 49 drivers and teams were registered for a chance to race for the $12,000-to-win winner’s share of the purse at the Knight Before the King’s Royal event. One of those teams was Jason Johnson and his JJR #41 team.
After being the quickest in hot laps with a fast lap of 13.962 seconds, Jason and the team were optimistic with regards to the upcoming qualifying session. But with a very slick and tricky surface emerging early on, getting a good time trial lap was going to be critical, but extremely difficult, for all the teams. Jason was going out 23rd in the Waco Metal/Jonestown KOA #41 Maxim for his two laps at speed at the fast half mile. The track was scrubbing off speed with each driver who rolled around the track. A hundredth of a second here and a hundredth of a second there and before too long it was a tenth of a second here and a tenth of a second there. The Cajun speed chauffeur rolled out and pedaled down as he took the green flag. He was smooth and rolled through turns one and two before darting down the back straightaway and into three and four. He kept all of the horses running in his Kistler Engines power plant and stopped the clock at 14.153 seconds. His second time around Eldora was a good one too, but slightly slower at 14.194 seconds. The quicker of his two laps was 15th in Flight A and 15th overall out of the 49 entrants.
Under the World of Outlaws (WoO) format, six heat races were scheduled with the top three from each heat race advancing to the 30-lap feature. Jason started fifth in heat number three aboard the Fischer Body Shop/BMRS Maxim Racing machine. It was not going to be easy as Bryan Clauson and Dale Blaney were in row one followed by Tim Shaffer and Danny Lasoski in row two. Jason was flanked in row three by Jac Haudenschild in the #6m. When the green was displayed the engines in the eight combatant’s cars came to life. Jason was trying to get traction on a surface that was slicked off all the way to the wall where the cushion hugged the base of the retaining wall surrounding the perimeter of the racing oval. It was certainly a tricky surface that was hard for everyone to get a hold of at speed. Dale Blaney would take the heat race win ahead of Clauson and Haudenschild as Jason came home fifth just behind fourth place finishing Tim Shaffer.
His last opportunity to put the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Valvoline #41 into the show was through the 12-lap Last Chance Showdown (LCS). With only the top six earning transfer spots to the feature, Jason was going to need a little lady luck to go along with his speed and traction. On the initial start, Jason tried to power around the low line to no avail. He moved up to the top side and gained some speed and momentum, but was only able to salvage an 11th place finish to end the night for Jason and the JJR #41 team. No lady luck on this night and no more racing beyond this point.
Jason and the team will take the lessons learned and come back ready to roll on Saturday night in the 33rd Annual King’s Royal. IF you come out to the track be sure to stop by the merchandise trailer and pick up a new shirt and check out the new 1/64 scale diecast of the beautiful #41.