CHICO, CALIFORNIA (September 11, 2015) – Across the country Americans from coast to coast were remembering those heroes that lost their lives in the unfortunate 9/11 events that took place 14 years ago, which changed the way we live our lives each day. After a moment of silence in observation and out of respect for each of those lost and impacted by this event, Jason and the JJR team, along with 43 other eager competitors signed into the pit area, were focused on preparing for the first night of the 62nd Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway.
There were two flights of time trial qualifying scheduled for the night around the quarter mile, high banked oval. Jason was scheduled to go out fifteenth in Flight One in the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Waco Metal #41 Maxim Racing entry. The track was filled with ruts, so racing at speed made it a little rough inside the cockpit of these high speed machines. Jason was buckled into his seat with his Crow Enterprizes safety belts and built up all the speed he could muster around the track. The quicker of his two laps was 13.200 seconds, which was 19th quick in Flight One, and 38th overall.
None too happy with his time trial laps, the gritty Louisiana native that is affectionately known as the Cajun Sensation, had his work cut out for him on this night. He started the first heat race from the tenth starting position in the field in the Fischer Body Shop/Arai Helmet machine. Inside the cockpit he was as focused as ever. He’s been here before and knows how to race through the field. He’s a racer’s racer. When the green flag was shown, he powered up his Kistler Engines power plant and was on the move. Andy Gregg was showing the way over Jason Statler, but the Cajun Sensation was on fire and making tracks like his signatory red hot chili pepper logo as he weaved through the competitors. He needed a top five finish in order to make his way into the A-Main or the difficult night would get a little more difficult as he would be relegated to potentially the C-Main or B-Main. His tenacity was showing outwardly as the forty one was flying. He moved into the top five and was looking for more. He got more as he stayed on the gas and moved up one more spot when the checkered flag flew as he crossed the stripe behind Gregg, Statler and Jonathan Allard. Mission accomplished. He locked the forty one into one of the 24 coveted spot in the 30 lap Gold Cup Race of Champions feature event.
Locking in to the first night of the 62nd Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions is only one accomplishment in this evening of competition for the Louisiana gasser, but every racer wants to be closer to the front of the pack grappling for position and hopefully the win. Undeterred, he climbed into the cockpit, secured his safety belts, locked in his steering wheel and readied himself to make a forward charge through the field in his Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Winters Performance Products #41. The front row was comprised of Shane Stewart and Andy Gregg followed by Kerry Madsen and Joey Saldana. Stewart would show the way at the start of the race in which the early laps were slowed by some yellow and red flags for some on track incidents. Jason was running in the 18th position when the racing resumed on lap eight. It was green and the engines were roaring in the California air . . . with mufflers of course. Stewart maintained the lead as Johnson was wheeling his machine around the oval as the cushion was building up on the high side. The laps clicked off the scoreboard as Shane Stewart approached the back markers who were actually all running the same speed making on track passing a bit more challenging. Stewart would lead wire-to-wire ahead of Saldana, DJ Netto, and Donny Schatz with Madsen rounding out the top five. Jason brought his Hepfner Racing Products (HRP) Maxim home with a 15th place finish, which earned his the KSE Hard Charger Award for this night of action.
Jason and the team will be back at Silver Dollar Speedway on Saturday night for the final night of the 62nd Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions. Come out and catch up with Jason, Bobbi, Jaxx, Philip and Cole.