2006 World of Outlaws Season Review: Jason Martin Norman, OK--Nov. 10, 2006 -- Patience is often thought of as one of the most prized virtues in the entire world. It is also one of the hardest qualities to learn and exhibit. Jason Martin ...
2006 World of Outlaws Season Review: Jason Martin
Norman, OK--Nov. 10, 2006 -- Patience is often thought of as one of the most prized virtues in the entire world. It is also one of the hardest qualities to learn and exhibit.
Jason Martin learned and gained plenty of patience this year, along with persistence, perseverance, and fortitude, as he competed during his rookie season with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series.
The native of Liberal, Kansas patiently waited through the off-season to make his debut as a full-time driver with the series and battle for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt, beginning at Volusia Speedway Park last February.
To be even more prepared, he went to Florida a little early to get some extra laps of experience. Martin's wait to fulfill his dream and race with the World of Outlaws was extended after he sustained a fracture to his vertebrae the day before the season opener.
He patiently waited 92 more days to make his World of Outlaws season debut.
Martin returned to the driver's seat on the blazing fast high-banks of U.S. 36 Raceway in Missouri on May 5. In only his third race back behind the wheel, he turned in a very solid run at Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania in his initial visit to the track. On May 30 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in New York, the always affable driver scored his first Top-10 finish with the series, a very solid eighth.
After a very gutsy performance at Black Hills (S.D.) Speedway in early August, that saw him battle a severe case of the flu and still score a Top-15 finish, Martin turned in one of his best runs of the season, finishing eighth at Nodak (N.D.) Speedway in his maiden voyage to the tight 3/8-mile oval before a record setting crowd.
As the season wore down, Martin and his team gained consistency. A career best sixth place finish at Jackson (Minn.) Speedway on the spacious half-mile, helped the team build momentum that was capped off by a very solid season finale at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which saw Martin finish in the Top-12 on both nights.
"It was a great learning experience," said Martin, driver of the NOS Energy Drink/Mafia Motorsports Maxim. "This is what I have always wanted to do. You can't do anything but learn when you are out here. If you are not learning, then you are not doing anything. It was good."
Martin entered the season having already won 53 Feature events in his burgeoning sprint car racing career. One of the younger members competing with the World of Outlaws he battled all season, and finished a very respectable 13th in series points, despite missing the first three months of the season while recuperating from his injuries. The team with help from a couple of substitute drivers finished 12th in owner points.
"It's been a little disappointing for me," admitted Martin. "I am used to running a lot better, and having better luck than we have had all year. It didn't start out very well by getting hurt and then it never really got turned around."
During his rehabilitation he stayed with the team and helped them out on the road as first Brian Brown and then Rob Chaney filled in driving the car. Martin learned a great deal while closely watching his car as well as all the other drivers night in and night out, leading up to his return to the cockpit.
"It really put me behind the eight ball getting hurt," he said. "We worked really hard trying to get back with it. We got things turned around a little at the end of the year, but it just seems like we can never get the monkey off of our back."
While for some, it would be tough to return to the seat after a horrific accident that had the magnitude of Martin's wreck, but for him, the easiest part was putting his helmet on and strapping on the belts. It was the 11 races that he missed, that were the toughest to deal with.
"Getting back in the car was no problem at all," explained Martin. "The tough part was getting caught back up. While everyone else had already been racing, we were trying to get started. We tried to get better and better, and it was just a long year."
Martin and his team worked closely with Chad Kemenah's team all season long both at and away from the track. It was by chance that the two met early in the season at Eldora Speedway, when Martin was going to get some parts from an equipment truck and Kemenah gave him a ride on his four-wheeler.
The teams usually parked close to each other at the track and could be seen traveling together from race to race. This cooperation paid off during the opening stages of the Gold Rush Tour, as they were heading west through Montana up to Washington for the two-day event at Skagit Speedway. Both Martin and Kemenah had mechanical problems with their tow rigs and were able to help each other out and make sure they made it to the track. That trip paid off, as Martin scored a very solid ninth-place finish on the opening night of the event, in his first ever visit to the track.
"Everybody has been great to us this year," Martin said. "I really like all the people we race with. This is the first time I have ever raced with one series the whole year. The main reason I never raced with one series is because you get stuck with the same people all the time. The people out here have been really nice to us and opened their arms to us. It's been nice."
While he got to race in his native state of Kansas a few times, it was not very often that Martin was able to return home to see his family or to work in his shop during the season. A positive though was that his wife Amber and son Chase were able to attend a good number of races this season, as did his parents, Dan and Jo.
"It was a hard year being on the road because we really couldn't go home," he commented. "In the past if I didn't want to race on a weekend, I could go home. Being locked into running the whole deal, the toughest part was not being able to go home and see my family. The rest of it was a piece of cake."
With plenty of experience under his belt, Martin is thrilled for the 2007 season as he continues to live his dream racing with the World of Outlaws. He began planning for next season as the 2006 season began to wind down. While in California for the Harvest Classic at Calistoga Speedway, he brought a couple of new crew members on, as he evaluated personnel for the upcoming season. Though there is still plenty of work to do in the next three months, Martin is already counting the days until the season opener at Volusia Speedway Park.
"We'll have everything in line for next year," Martin said. "We're finalizing our sponsorships and everything should be good there, and we are getting ready for next year."
Next Up: The series of season reviews for the Top-15 in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series continues with Dion Hindi.