ROSSBURG, OHIO (July 18, 2015) – There is something special about this night and this race. The Kings Royal event is certainly is more than just 40 laps around the track that Earl Baltes built – Eldora Speedway. It is a premier event in which the drivers and teams all have their game faces on. The fans are just downright stoked to see them all do what they do best. And the racing, including the unique qualifying format, is second to none around the high banked oval.
Jason, Bobbi, Philip, Cole and the entire JJR team and their sponsorship partners were ready. After Friday night’s top fifteen run, the JJR team woke up early on Saturday morning and went to work to make sure their driver had the best equipment under him when he hit the track. There were 58 cars on hand all vying for the $50,000 winner’s check. But in addition to the King’s ransom, and just as importantly, everyone wanted to bestowed the 32nd Annual King and be crowned in the King’s throne.
The first order of business was the important time trial laps. Each competitor only gets two. When Jason pushed off in the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Valvoline #41 his first lap stopped the clock at 13.527 seconds. Adjusting his line slightly and keeping his right foot planted, he improved the next trip around with a quicker lap at 13.498 seconds. When the last qualifier took the checkers, he was 19th quick overall.
Finding himself on the front row of the fastest heat race, heat one, the Louisiana born native climbed aboard the Fischer Body Shop/Jonestown KOA Maxim and pulled into his second starting position. With ominous and stormy skies to the west, the field was lined up as thunder could be heard in the distance. When the green flag dropped and the drivers unleashed all of the horsepower under their hoods, the air was filled with the sweet sound of sprint car racing. Jason jumped into the lead over Sheldon Haudenschild. But the red flag was thrown quickly as Haudenschild got loose coming off turn two forcing Brent Marks to get on the brakes leaving Steve Kinser with nowhere to go. Kinser took a wild tumble down the backstretch. When the remaining competitors lined up to restart the heat race, Bryan Clausen was now on the pole beside the Ragin’ Cajun. Before the green reappeared the cars were pulled from the track as a storm hit the track.
After a 4.5 hour delay, the silent western Ohio air was again filled with the rumble of the engines. When the heat race resumed, Jason again set sail with a vapor trail coming off his left sideboard of his Hepfner Racing Product (HRP) wing as he entered the turns. He would go on to lead all ten laps to take the heat race victory earning the right to start from the sixth starting spot in the 32nd Annual Kings Royal event.
When the 32nd Annual Kings Royal field assembled in their four-wide salute to the fans, pole sitter Tim Shaffer pulled out of line to form the missing man formation in honor of the late, great Earl Baltes. Jason pulled the shield down on his Shell Shock custom painted Arai Helmet as he prepared to add a little Cajun spice to this event. The last time he raced in this event in 2003 he finished third. He wanted to improve on that finish on this night. After the initial green flag was replaced by the red when JoJo Heberg flipped in turn one the racers were ready to go. When the green waved, Shaffer took the lead over Schatz with Jason taking control of the fifth spot in the Dissolvalloy/Waco Metal Maxim. The caution flew on lap 16 and Jason had moved into the fourth position in the running order. His Kistler Engine was supplying all of the necessary power needed to propel him forward. On the restart he was like a bullet coming out of the turns. He was racing hard with Christopher Bell and Shane Stewart for the runner-up position. Bell’s night would come to an abrupt stop on lap 34 as he blew a right rear and veered into the turn one wall and helicoptered down the track. Jason paced behind race leader Donny Schatz and second running Shane Stewart. When the racing resumed, Schatz held the top spot with Stewart all over him and Jason in pursuit. Two laps later Schatz was off the pace as he ran out of fuel. The Cajun Sensation was now sitting in the second spot and on lap 38 a competition red was shown so the remaining competitors could refuel as the track crews tried to get Brent Marks car out of the mud on the frontstretch. Stewart would go on to take the prestigious win with Jason in the forty one crossing the finish line close behind to earn a runner-up finish to kick off the Month of Money. A great run for the JJR forty one team!