NACHES, Washington -- Jason Jefferson, the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, presented by Dodge late model points leader at Yakima Speedway and Tri-Cities Raceway, hopes to lock up his second consecutive Tri-Cities championship on August 31, then run up front the following evening in the Tri-City 125 for the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, NASCAR Touring division.
He knows that with a limited schedule on the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series in 2002, wining an event could go a long ways towards securing an opportunity to further his career in a Dodge product, or with a touring division team.
“I’d like to move up next year but it is all in the hands of the Dodge people,” Jefferson said. “I’d defiantly like to do something different after this season in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. We’ll just have to see what happens over the winter, I would like to do some more touring races or whatever may work out for me.”
The Northwest elite drivers in the NASCAR Touring division are heading into the home stretch of the season. Jefferson, while not behind the wheel of his trusty Dodge, still plans to be a factor in this weekend’s racing action in the Better-All Motorsports touring division machine.
“The cars are completely different (Jefferson uses a Ford Taurus for touring competition). Last year in the Labor Day race we had a really good car and were running up front but we got a flat and that set us back a bit,” Jefferson said.
“We’re going to try and finish off the championship down there on Saturday night then come Sunday we’d like to win the Northwest Series race.”
Running the remaining races on the Northwest schedule could move Jefferson into the top-20 in the final series points standings. He had not planned to run the series full time in 2002 so a good points finish would be nice Jefferson said.
“It will depend on what we’re doing with our Dodge Intrepid late model program (on running the remaining Northwest series races). We’re going to try and make the televised races and for sure Yakima. Right now we want to focus on getting through with this Dodge in the late models and perform well for the Dodge people so we could maybe move up to the series (in 2003),” Jefferson said.
Should Jefferson capture the Tri-City Raceway and Yakima Speedway NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, presented by Dodge late model championships, it would be his second consecutive year accomplishing the feat. Jefferson joined Greg Biffle as the only Tri-City Raceway driver since 1990 to win a title at the West Richland facility, while also capturing a crown in the same year at a different facility.
“I don’t really feel like I’m leaving a mark yet because I haven’t been running in a touring division,” Jefferson said of any potential legacy. “When I get older it will probably sink in but I’d like to run some more touring races or hopefully the Craftsman Truck Series, I haven’t really thought about the history of it all.”
George Jefferson, Jason’s father, has been a mentor to NASCAR veterans Derrick Cope and Chad Little, and a strong influence on older brother Jeff’s rising career. Lasting impressions instilled by his legendary father have shaped Jason’s career he said. “I think he instilled growing up around successful racing teams makes it something that you want to do. I’m sure it has been a positive influence and it helped to better whatever I’ve been doing as a driver but you still have to go out and win races, that’s how you get to the next level in my opinion.”
Jefferson has served as a crewmember and car chief for Ken Schrader and the late Kenny Irwin while the NASCAR stars raced his car on the Featherlite Southwest Series. The feedback from the highly acclaimed drivers also helped mold his early career he said. “They gave me great feedback and it was a good experience to make the car feel the way that each one asked for. I loved helping out and it was a good opportunity to work with those drivers.”
The Tri-City 125 for the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series is part of the Labor Day spectacular at Tri-City Raceway. The action begins on August 31 with the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, presented by Dodge late models in action followed on Sunday by the elite Northwest NASCAR stars racing for over $30,000 in prize money. For ticket information call (509) 967-9271 or log onto the track’s website at www.tricityraceway.com