Overconfidence is not an issue for NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series star Jason Jefferson DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 18, 2004) - It would be really easy for Jason Jefferson and his No. 97 Mike Olson Dodge/SPE Racing Engines...
Overconfidence is not an issue for NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series star Jason Jefferson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 18, 2004) - It would be really easy for Jason Jefferson and his No. 97 Mike Olson Dodge/SPE Racing Engines Dodge team to start looking into travel arrangements for The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in Irwindale, Calif. and New York City (a trip to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series awards banquet, reserved for NASCAR champions) after winning the first two races of the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series season. But, Jason and his team are not about to fall prey to overconfidence. It is too early in the season for that sort of talk.
"Everyone wants to talk about the championship," said Jefferson. "There are ten more races and there are too many good drivers in this series to even spend any time worrying about the championship. I really want to emphasize that." Make no mistake; he has confidence in himself, his car and his team, but he prefers to be more realistic and "down to earth" about the early success. He simply wants to build on these two victories with more solid runs and let the point standings sort itself out at the end of the season.
Jefferson takes similar views with his career goals, avoiding the all too common mistake of getting ahead of one's self.
"Sure, I would love to eventually run in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, but my job now is to focus on what I am doing at this moment," said Jefferson, of Yakima, Wash. "If I don't do that, then none of those other things can ever happen. Just keep improving week to week, be in the right place at the right time to move up to the next series is Jefferson's mantra. "Between the Northwest Series, the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series and a Late Model car that I have, I will run 35 or so races this year. Those are the things that I can control. Everything else, hopefully, will work out in my favor," said the driver with his feet firmly on the ground.
So what about the apparent dominance at TriCity Raceway and Evergreen Speedway? "The car was not that dominant. It was a matter of getting up front and keeping that track position to stay out of the way," stated Jefferson. "The cars equal out over the race so I would not say that I had a dominant car. I was able to keep track position, get around people when I had the chance to, had some luck and stayed out of trouble." That is the philosophy he will take into every race this year and let the chips fall where they may.
Jefferson, however, does want another shot at the Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, the site of the second annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at which the top 10 drivers in the Northwest Series at season's end will advance to. He said, "I think I speak for all of the Northwest Series drivers when I say that whoever gets there we intend on making a better showing than we did last year. It was a new track for all of us and one that we don't have a comparable track in our series. It was unfortunate that we all had various problems, but with some luck I'll get back there and do a better job."
The business at hand in the Northwest Series, though, is the Frank's Chevrolet 125 on the 0xda6ce Yakima (Wash.) Speedway on May 29. Jefferson said of the event, "It is a hometown track and hometown crowd. I am definitely looking forward to it, but it is the same deal with track position. I just want to build on the momentum that we have as a team with another good finish so that there is still a chance for all of those other things to happen."
Jason Jefferson was certainly one of the drivers to watch before the season began and after two races he sits atop the points standings. Additionally, he has proven to be a driver to watch, in general as he moves along in his career. However, he will not be undone by complacency. Mistakes will be made both in and out of the car, but as he said, "I have seen too many things happen as the races wind down. I prefer to keep my feet on the ground and strive to get better."
It sounds simple enough, simple enough to work.