LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS (April 26, 2016) – It has been quite some time since the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series raced at I-30 Speedway’s quarter mile oval that is affectionately nicknamed Hammer Hill. In fact it has been 22 years, as the last time The Greatest Show On Dirt visited the race track was in 1994. Jason raced here quite a bit when he was on the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour as it was a regular stop on the schedule each year. He has always been competitive and has won races here, but none more prestigious than his Short Track Nationals (STN) victory in 2006. The racing action at Hammer Hill is always very fast and at times treacherous inside these high speed sprint cars.
There were 27 cars signed into the pit area as the track crews worked in the very wet race track. Crew chief Philip Dietz and the JJR crew readied the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Schoenfeld Headers #41 Maxim for their driver so he could attack the track when he rolled out for qualifying. The track surface was lightning fast as the Ragin’ Cajun was the twelfth car to take his two time trial laps. He went out aggressively turning an initial lap in 12.429 seconds. Staying up on the wheel, he pounded the loud pedal the second time around and stopped the clock with a faster lap of 12.289 seconds, which was 22nd quick overall.
Mired deep in the first heat race lineup in the eighth start position, Jason and the boys had some work to do to qualify the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/ISC Racers Tape entry. When the green flag waved, polesitter Sammy Swindell took the lead over Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz. Jason was wheelin’ and dealin’ inside the cockpit of his Maxim Racing chassis as things around Hammer Hill happen quickly. Not for the faint of heart, the drivers make the close action look easier than it really is or should be. Jason and Shane Stewart were in a fierce battle for the sixth and final transfer spot. They were battling tooth and nail for the position on the track. When Swindell took the checkers, Stewart beat Johnson to the line to secure the sixth and final transfer position to the feature with the Cajun Sensation coming home seventh.
Relegated to the Last Chance Showdown (LCS), the fierce and focused Louisianan was looking to lock his Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Pro Powder Coating #41 into the show from the fifth starting spot with Sam Hafertepe, Jr. to his outside. Brandon Hanks and Carson Macedo were on the front row with Jacob Allen and Bryan Clauson in row two. It was ‘go’ time for the driver of the forty one. The initial start was waved off as Macedo was determined to have started early, the field regrouped and took the green but not for long as Clyde Knipp flipped in turn one. When the race finally got going, Jason got rolling around the top and was running in the fifth spot early in the 12-lap event as Hanks paced the field. Clauson would take the lead and the win as the Cajun Sensation would bring his entry home in the sixth and final qualifying spot to advance to the A-Main as the bottom seemed to be the quick way around Hammer Hill on this night.
The Eunice, Louisiana born racer would have some more work to do in the A-Main from his outside row twelve starting position. But he had 40 laps to do it aboard the K&N Filters/Winters Performance Products #41 and he certainly likes to pass cars. The laps go by quickly here at I-30 Speedway, so everyone would have to be up on the wheel when the racing got up to speed in order to keep pace and stay on the lead lap. As the lights around the speedway shined brightly, Brady Bacon and Jason Sides led the field to the green flag and went speeding into turn one. Sides led as the Ragin’ Cajun quickly advanced two spots early in the racing action and was looking for more. He would gain another two spots before the yellow would fly for Joe B. Miller with 10 laps in the books. Racing would resume and the racers were back at work. Jason was running in the 20th spot, but the racing for position was fierce and the yellow lights would re-illuminate for a slowing Wayne Johnson exiting turn four. On the restart Sides led Bacon and Pittman by the flag stand, but the red flag flew halting the action as Jason flipped the Schoenfeld Headers Maxim hard in turn three to bring his night to an abrupt end with 25 laps to go. The driver was okay, but the car was done for the night resulting in a 21st place finish. Not the night he was looking for but the JJR team will regroup and be ready to go at Salina Highbanks Speedway on Friday night.