LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS (October 24, 2014) – The competitive games continued at the 27th Annual Short Track Nationals. With one qualifying night in the books, it was time to get the next round going for the remaining 37 cars. One of those cars was the Waco Metal/Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) #41 Maxim driven by the 4-Time and defending ASCS National Tour champion, Jason Johnson. The Eunice, Louisiana native was looking to get back on track at Hammer Hill’s 1/4 mile, high-banked bullring.
He would start on the front row in heat two beside Olive Branch, Mississippi native Jerod Roller in his 5R. When the initial green flag waved, Jason powered the forty one into the lead, but before they made their way into turn one the yellow flag was displayed as Derek Hagar spun on the frontstretch and hit the inside tire barriers. On the next attempt, Jason used the high side of the speedway to again seize the lead on the restart only to be negated by another yellow flag. Hoping the third time was the charm, the Louisiana gasser pounded the loud pedal again and dove to the bottom entering turn one. He powered off turn two and had the lead for good. He would lead the remaining distance to take the heat race win in the Jonestown KOA/Schoenfeld Headers #41 over Roller, Johnny Herrera and Dusty Zomer.
Next up was the first of four qualifiers. The qualifiers are a unique twist at the Short Track Nationals that levels the playing field and gives drivers a second chance to accumulate some more points. Ever pass counts! After earning the FSR Radiator High Point honors, Jason would start sixth in the first qualifier with Johnny Herrera to his inside. At the start, Jason was on the high side of Hammer Hill and found himself racing in the seventh position as Zach Chappell snuck under him using the low side in early racing action. Jason would have to settle for a seventh place finish, which relegated him to the B-Main.
He would start on the inside of row two in the second of two B-Main events in which only the top three in each event advance to the preliminary night A-Main. Elbows up time. When the green flag waved, front row starters Glenn Styres and Kyle Bellm led the field to the flag with Jason right behind in the K&N Filters/MSD Performance Maxim. Running hard the entire twelve laps, the Cajun secured the third finishing position to advance to the 25 lap A-Main.
Starting deep in the field from the 20th starting spot, Jason had a lot of work to do. Things happen fast around this quarter mile and it does not take the leaders long in clean air to catch the back of the field. There are no “Lucky Dog” free passes in sprint car racing, so you do not want to get lapped. The seasoned driver knew what he had to do. After buckling into his ButlerBuilt Professional Seat System, he pushed off and readied himself for the challenge ahead. Outside front row starter, Matt Covington, took the early lead over polesitter Christopher Bell. Jason was on the gas and making some passes for position as the field raced at speed around the I-30 Speedway. Covington would lead the first sixteen laps before Bell took the point position. Jason was continuing to fight for every position as he made his way into the top fifteen. Bell would go on to take the win ahead of Covington and A.G. Rains with Jason bringing home a 15th place finish on his preliminary qualifying night.