Jason Jefferson and NASCAR Autozone Elite Division, Northwest Series Teams Shift Gears for Season-Opener at Tricity Raceway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 8, 2004) -- Just as the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series was ready to begin...
Jason Jefferson and NASCAR Autozone Elite Division, Northwest Series Teams Shift Gears for Season-Opener at Tricity Raceway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 8, 2004) -- Just as the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series was ready to begin its 20th season March 27 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., mother nature intervened with other plans. Due to inclement weather, the Big O Tires 125 race was postponed, shifting the Northwest Series' season-opener to April 24 at TriCity Raceway in West Richland, Wash.
For Northwest Series teams and drivers, the four-week wait to resume racing is a chance to fine tune their race cars and mentally prepare for the season ahead.
For 2003 Northwest Series rookie of the year Jason Jefferson, it's also a chance to open the season at one of his best tracks. Jefferson won the 2002 Late Model track championship at TriCity and recorded his first Northwest Series win there in September of that year. Jefferson also won the April 2003 race at TriCity and added a NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series victory there in June -- in his first West Series start.
Jefferson says his No. 97 Mike Olson Dodge team will be ready when the green flag finally drops.
"As far as the car goes, there were a few adjustments we needed to make [to prepare for TriCity]. From a driver standpoint, it's better for me to start out at TriCity," said Jefferson, a resident of Yakima, Wash. "Although I like Monroe, with the amount of practice we had, I felt like I was not quite 100 percent ready going into the race. Having the race postponed gave everybody a few more weeks to do some things to their cars, which we did. Just a little tuning and tweaking."
Despite his experience at the track, Jefferson says he is still ready for a challenging event.
"[TriCity Raceway] is really, really hard to run at. I don't take it for granted, that's for sure," said Jefferson. "I never want to say I know exactly what I'm doing there. It has three different corners and the place changes a lot. I'm looking forward to it but I wouldn't say I know every inch around the place."
The fast half-mile oval has hosted Northwest Series events each season since 1985. Tobey Butler, Garrett Evans and John Dillon share the record for most Northwest Series victories at the track -- each with five wins to their credit. Evans, meanwhile, has historically been the best qualifier at TriCity; he's collected seven Bud Pole qualifying awards there.
Following the TriCity event, the Northwest Series returns to Evergreen Speedway for a 125-lap race on the track's 3/8-mile infield oval on May 8. Jefferson isn't waiting until then to continue racing, however -- he plans to make a return to NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series competition May 1 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.