"Young Gun" Jason Hogan Tests a NASCAR Craftsman Truck
2002 NASCAR SES Rookie of the Year Now Looking For a Shot at the Craftsman Truck Series
CLEVELAND, GA (December 19, 2003) -- One word can summarize Jason Hogan-- fast. He's always fast on the racetrack and fast to jump at any big opportunity that comes his way. Recently, the current NASCAR Southeast Series competitor got the biggest opportunity of his young career when he was asked to test a front-running NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ride alongside of Rusty Wallace's son, Steven and other competitors.
Hogan sat behind the wheel of the Billy Ballew #15 at Peach State Speedway in Georgia on December 11-12 and by all indications, the test went very well for everyone involved. The group would like to put a deal together to run a part-time schedule, starting with the inaugural Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 13.
"I've done some big Super Late Model races with Richie Wauters and he set up this whole test deal," said the 21-year-old Hogan. "I've also known Billy (Ballew) for several years, so you can bet I was wide open for the opportunity they gave me. These days, just to get a test with a team is an accomplishment for your career. In racing today, there are very few people who will put someone in one of their cars or trucks when they've never driven for them before.
"It was a blast, but even more, it was a real learning experience. It was the first time I've been behind the wheel of a Craftsman Truck and it was a lot of fun to drive. I really liked the feel of the radial tires and I took to them pretty quickly. It was actually a little more fun to drive than my Super Late Model and anyone who has been in one of those cars knows how much fun they are."
Wauters, a veteran crew chief in the NASCAR ranks echoed Hogan's thoughts. "He was real fast and real impressive. NASCAR had a bunch of drivers they were testing at Jefferson (where Peach State Speedway is located in Georgia) and they all looked good, but Jason and Steven were the best of the bunch. Jason is a good kid; I think he has a lot of potential if given the chance."
It was the first time Hogan had ever been behind the wheel of a "premier series" car on a short track. For the past year, Hogan has worked as a driving instructor with the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Atlanta, Talladega and Nashville Speedway's. He has roughly 2,500 laps at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"I'm looking for any good opportunity out there right now, but we are really working on a deal to get something together for the Atlanta race (with Ballew) and then we will go from there," said Hogan. "With all the laps I have there, I think we could be a force in that race; we just need some sponsorship help to get us through the race. It just takes a little help from a company that wants to get their name out there. We'll take anything to help us get this going. I'm a firm believer that if you can get into something and show what you are made of, people will help you out and in turn I can help them too."
Hogan has been racing since 1990 and has found success in everything he has driven. He won his first stock car championship at the age of 12 with the Junior Late Model title at Lanier National Speedway (GA). He has gradually moved up the ranks and has won several prestigious awards, including the NASCAR All Pro (now Southeast) Series Rookie of the Year title in 2002. He did that at the tender age of 19.
"The Craftsman Truck Series is logically the next step I need to take. The new NASCAR Touring deal was built to have Elite racers move up to the Winston West or Busch North Series, but that isn't feasible to us because of our location, so the Truck Series is where I need to go. It's producing some of the best racing out there today and it has a great TV package with SPEED Channel. There are a lot of talented drivers in the Truck Series right now and I just want a chance to compete with them."
Jason and the Billy Ballew team (Ballew's team finished in the top-20 in CTS points in 2003).