Good Day Gone Bad for Jefferson SONOMA, CALIF. (June 22, 2008) Jeff Jefferson of Naches, Wash. looked to have the perfect race strategy for the Bennett Lane Winery "200" Saturday afternoon at Infineon Raceway, but the best laid plans can turn to...
Good Day Gone Bad for Jefferson
SONOMA, CALIF. (June 22, 2008) Jeff Jefferson of Naches, Wash. looked to have the perfect race strategy for the Bennett Lane Winery "200" Saturday afternoon at Infineon Raceway, but the best laid plans can turn to dust in an instant. Instead of a solid top ten finish, Jefferson's MJ2 Racing Chevrolet was destroyed and he was left thinking what could have been.
Jefferson qualified 15th in the stout 41-car field for the 64-lap NASCAR Camping World Series event held in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' annual trek to the wine country of Northern California. Jefferson's strategy for the race was simple. Pit by lap 28 for fuel and take advantage of track position.
That strategy seemed to play out to a tee over the first 60 laps. Jefferson logged laps around the 1.99 mile road course keeping his sights set on the leaders. Most of the leaders pitted on lap 18 while Jefferson stuck to the plan eventually landing him in the second position on lap 24. Jefferson pitted on lap 26 for fuel rejoining the field in 18th.
Jefferson worked his way through numerous cautions where he was running in the top ten late in the race. Anytime the NCWS heads to Infineon, the field is littered with so called road racing "experts" who only field a car for this event. Saturday's race was no exception. While many of these drivers have experience at Infineon, most do not have experience racing side-by-side in NASCAR competition and that combination bit Jefferson in the worst way.
At lap 62 of the scheduled 64 lap contest, Jefferson was running in the 8th position. He had steadily worked his way into contention giving and taking along the way putting his Chevrolet in position for a solid finish. As he exited out of turn 4 at the top of the two drivers in front of him tangled and went for a spin. Jefferson dove low and maintained his line. Kevin O'Connell went high. The two were side-by side heading into turn seven but O'Connell's drove Jefferson off the racing surface even though the MJ2 Racing machine had the position. The contacted resulted in Jefferson flipping wildly five times ending with a destroyed race car and a finish he would rather forget. Jefferson walk away uninjured.
"I raced him (O'Connell) clean over the final laps even though he blocked and cut across my car several times," Jefferson said. "I had the position but I don't know what he was thinking. You can race our regular's side-by-side all race long and never touch. You know who you can trust. I am disappointed and frustrated that we lost a good race car. We have had more bad luck this season and I hope we can turn it around at Irwindale."
The 29th place finish will unofficially drop Jefferson out of the top ten in the season point standings after six races as his MJ2 Racing team head to their next event Friday, July 4 at Irwindale, California's Toyota Speedway. Jefferson and team hope to put their bad luck behind them at the West's half-mile marquee short track racing facility.