Jefferson Impressive in Return to Action ESI Construction Driver Jeff Jefferson Rallies for Top Five Finish at Colorado National BOISE, IDAHO (August 17, 2009) Jeff Jefferson from Naches, WA and driver of the ESI Construction Chevrolet made the...
Jefferson Impressive in Return to Action
ESI Construction Driver Jeff Jefferson Rallies for Top Five Finish at Colorado National
BOISE, IDAHO (August 17, 2009) Jeff Jefferson from Naches, WA and driver of the ESI Construction Chevrolet made the most of his return to the NASCAR Camping World Series Saturday night at Colorado National Speedway by qualifying and finishing in the top five. Jefferson came back from a lap down after qualifying fifth in the 150-lap race to post a fifth finish in his first start of the season.
Jefferson's ESI Construction Chevrolet was fast throughout two practice sessions held at the fast 3/8-mile paved oval before qualifying fifth in his first start of the season. Jefferson was pleased with his qualifying effort but knew the race would be a whole different story. "Craig (Raudman) is simply one of the best when it comes to setting up these cars," Jefferson said. "The car was really good cutting through the corners and starting up front gave me a lot of confidence."
While Jefferson wanted to make the most of the opportunity to return to the series, he also needed to play it conservatively. Over the first half of the race he maintained his position in the top five getting up to third at one point but that quickly changed on lap 70 when Jefferson tangled with another car causing him to spin and sit exposed in the middle of the turn four. His worst fear were realized when the #17 of title contender David Mayhew had nowhere to go and made contact with Jefferson's left front. The contact ended Mayhew's night and severely upset the handle on Jefferson's ride.
Jefferson restarted the race one lap down in the 14th position but steadily worked his way up through the lead lap cars putting himself in position for the Lucky Dog free pass if the caution were to come out again. His opportunity came on lap 91. Jefferson restarted at the tail of the field and began to move through the field for the second time in the race but this time with an ill-handling race car.
Over the final fifty laps under green flag racing conditions, Jefferson man-handled his car up to the fifth position where his crossed the finish line. "I had my hands full," Jefferson said. "I was determined to make the most of the opportunity and I just got up on the wheel and drove it for all it was worth. The contact bent to left front up a bit and really toed it out, but it was still a pretty good car just a real handful down the straights."
Although the finish was not what he would have liked, Jefferson was pleased with the outcome. "I really need to thank Tom Hill and ESI Construction for supporting this effort," Jefferson said. We really had a car capable of winning and to come out of here with a top five is pretty cool. Craig Raudman, Gary Mears, and the rest of the crew did a fantastic job and it was a lot of fun to mix it up with the guys in the series again. I hope we can do a few more of these down the road."
Jefferson drives a Chevrolet which is powered by a NASCAR Spec Engine on top of a Hopkins chassis. Jefferson has 37 career NCWS starts with one win, 10 top five and 17 top ten finishes along with two Coors Light Pole Awards. He is also a three-time NASCAR NW Tour champion (2003-2005) and has claimed 24 career NASCAR Coors Light Pole Awards (2 NCWS, 22 NNWT). Jefferson scored his sixth top five finish in NASCAR action at Colorado National Saturday night.