Fifteenth in Homecoming for Tony Jackson Jr. Kansas City, KS -- May 2, 2010. In front of dozens of family and friends, Tony Jackson Jr. made the most of his speedway debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finishing fifteenth in ...
Fifteenth in Homecoming for Tony Jackson Jr.
Kansas City, KS -- May 2, 2010. In front of dozens of family and friends, Tony Jackson Jr. made the most of his speedway debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finishing fifteenth in the O'Reilly 250 at the Kansas Speedway. The Lebanon, MO native progressed all day long, avoided several accidents and ended the race without a single scratch on his SS Green Light Racing Chevy.
Jackson spent much of Saturdays practice session getting a feel for driving on the mile and a half speedway and steadily improved as the sessions went on. He qualified the Chase Suite Hotel No. 07 in 28th position with a lap of 33.08 seconds in the late afternoon qualifying session.
At the start of the race, Jackson held his position and got comfortable racing in traffic, following a very close call in an early incident, Jackson was forced to the pits during the first caution to remove grass and debris from the No. 07 causing it to overheat. The early stop dropped Tony to 32nd in the running order.
Tony picked-up the lost track position and moved into the top-20 as several trucks pit on the second caution on lap 18. Cautions filled the next 30 laps and Tony restarted 18th following the fifth caution on lap 42.
A long green flag run was just what Jackson needed and allowed Tony to settle in and work on hitting his marks and steadily improved his lap times. He was able to stay on the lead lap until lap 84 when leader and eventual winner Johnny Sauter put him a lap down.
Crew Chief Jason White kept Jackson on the track as long as possible and Tony assumed the lead of the race for a single lap before coming to pit road on lap 95.
Following the round of green flag pit stops Tony sat in 16th place and first truck one lap down. He was awarded the luck-dog and was put back on the lead lap when the caution flew shortly after his stop.
Tony was in 14th when raindrops started to fall on lap 104 and NASCAR officials stopped the race on lap 113 just before a huge thunderstorm dumped heavy rain and hail on the facility. Following a two-hour delay, Miller called Jackson to the pit to change two tires and fuel up for the sprint to the finish. "I think I can get to the top-ten if we can keep improving our times like we have been," Jackson said during the delay.
The trucks went back to racing on lap 120 and Tony struggled to keep the same pace as before the rain delay. The combination of a green racetrack and the two tires changed the handling of the No. 07 and the truck was too tight to allow Jackson to move forward and finished a very respectable 15th in his speedway debut at his home track.
"It felt great to get a top-fifteen, but I think if the truck would have stayed the same after the rain as it was before we could have raced our way towards the top-ten. It was wicked tight at the end," Jackson explained. "I think I am starting to understand what I'm feeling in the truck and how to communicate that to Jason. I can't wait to go to Texas."
Miller is pleased with the progress of his young driver. "Tony grew by leaps and bounds today. His lap times were great during the middle of the race. There is not a single scratch on this truck."
"I don't understand why we got so tight after the rain delay," Miller added. "I felt we had made the right adjustments to help Tony, it may have just been a bad combination of tires. Overall I'm pleased with everything and Tony made huge strides today."
The next race for Tony Jackson Jr. in the SS Green Light No. 07 is June 4th at the Texas Motor Speedway.