LAKE ODESSA, MICHIGAN (June 5, 2016) – After rain postponed the first attempt to run the NAPA Auto Parts Rumble in Michigan show at I-96 Speedway on Saturday night, 28 sprint cars filled the pit area under cloudy and overcast skies on Sunday night. As the drivers were gathering for the World of Outlaw (WoO) driver’s meeting, the sun began peeking through and lit the day up to take away the gloomy skies that formerly were above the track. The cars rolled around to get heat in their engines and then came out in three sets for hot laps before the show began.
When hot laps were concluded, it was time to show how fast you can get around I-96 Speedway when you are the only car on the track. It was time for two qualifying laps in time trials. Jason pushed out fifth in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/BMRS #41 to take his laps. His first lap on the heavy and rutty track surface was 14.124 seconds. Not good enough, he had the hammer down and rolled through the turns during the second circuit to cross the line in 14.009 seconds, which was 13th quick overall when time trials concluded for the 28 entries.
The Louisiana speed chauffeur had the Jonestown KOA/Valvoline #41 Maxim in the first and fastest heat race where he would start from the fifth position. Six cars would transfer in each of the three 8-lap events, but the track was choppy and fast with the outside lane above the cushion allowing you to carry a bit more speed around I-96 Speedway on this night. Quick timer, Brad Sweet, and Joey Saldana in the Roth #83 brought them across the white chalk stripe in turn four as the engines roared when the drivers headed down the front straightaway. Jason Sides and Chase Ridenour both navigated by Jason in the early going of heat race action. Saldana leaned on the cushion to take the lead over Sweet, as the Ragin’ Cajun was embroiled in a fight for the final transfer spot with Ridenour. It was close, but Ridenour was making it difficult to make the pass. A caution with two laps to go tightened up the field and gave Jason another shot to gain the sixth and final transfer spot. They went back to green around the 3/8-mile, semi-banked oval. Jason was still chasing Ridenour and he was close enough to put up a fight. On the last lap, Ridenour bicycled out of two, but Jason could not make the pass for position. Coming through the last set of turns he powered down and came off four Hoosier Racing Tire-to-Hoosier Racing Tire with Ridenour as he stole the sixth and final transfer spot at the line by a nose, truly just a nose, to advance onto the A-Main finale. Saldana took the heat race win over Sweet, Pittman, and Donny Schatz with Jason Sides coming home in the fifth position.
In the 35-lap NAPA Auto Parts Rumble in Michigan feature event, Jason would start in the 16th starting spot aboard the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Dissolvalloy #41 Maxim Racing entry beside Friday night’s Fremont Speedway winner Chad Kemenah in the #10H. With rain moving in across Lake Michigan just ready to make landfall the WoO officials kept the show moving along. While the fans were watching the radar closely on their phones and running for the special $2 beers being sold in the concession stands, the drivers climbed into the cockpits of their sprint cars to ready for action. Jason buckled his Crow Enterprises safety belts and tightened the chin strap on his Bell Racing helmet as he sat comfortably in his Fibreworks Composites custom fitted racing seat. He flicked the shield down and rolled out onto the track ready to get rolling from row eight. When the four-wide salute to the fans concluded, it was time to go racing in Michigan! Polesitter David Gravel was sitting on the point position and as the racing went to green he went to the low side as Saldana pounded the high side on lap one. Gravel took the lead but the racing was fast and furious throughout the field. Jason quickly moved up to twelfth by lap three and was on the move in the forty one. He kept running hard and passed Jacob Allen to take command of the eleventh position. Saldana was in a fierce battle with James McFadden for the runner-up position which unfortunately ended up with Saldana spun around and the caution lights illuminated around the speedway. Jason restarted from the tenth position when the racing resumed on lap 7 as Gravel led the field again but now with Shane Stewart giving chase. Falling back to twelfth Jason continued race with his elbows up until lap 17 when James McFadden and Max Stambaugh got together and both going upside down in turn two. Jason was set to restart from the tenth position when the racing was to resume in the Fischer Body Shop/K&N Filters #41, but heavy rain began to fall and the cars got called back to their trailers in the pit area. After the heavy rains continued to fall race officials called the show and threw the checkers to make it official with Gravel taking the win over Stewart. Jason recorded his 21st top ten finish of the season, a 52.5% top ten success rate in 2016.