One has been referred to as being the loneliest number, but in the racing world it can sometimes be the most elusive number. For Jason Meyers and his Elite Racing team, it took several close calls for them to win their first World of Outlaws Series title, but they took that number one spot last season. The champions have had a slow start to the 2011 season, but this weekend they made some gains towards taking their first victory of the season in front of their hometown crowd. Unfortunately, rain would get in the way at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway. But at Thunderbowl Raceway, Meyers came within 0.419 of a second from celebrating in Victory Lane.
Mother Nature Halts Racing in Hanford
The first World of Outlaws Race at Giant Kings Speedway since 2003 looked promising for the entire Elite Racing squad. The team started with a ninth place qualifying lap. Then Meyers would go on to pilot the #14 GLR Investments KPC to victory in both his heat race and the dash. Lined up on the pole for the feature, Meyers was in the perfect position to chase that elusive first victory of 2011. That is when the sky opened up and the officials made the call to postpone the event.
The Outlaws will make a return to Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway on March 31 to run the feature event prior to racing at Merced Speedway on April 1 and Calistoga Speedway on April 2.
Thunder almost strikes in Tulare
As like every track Meyers has raced at thus far this season, Elite Racing fans came out to celebrate and meet the first team and driver to win a World of Outlaws title from California. Meyers has been overwhelmed by the support he has received. For example, at Thunderbowl Raceway during the “Meet the Champion” autograph session, TJ Hamel who was celebrating his 10th birthday visited the trailer with seven of his best friends all decked out in #14 gear. During the evening, it must have been thrilling for the group as the Californian Champion came one spot from making one young fan’s birthday even happier.
At Thunderbowl Raceway, Meyers brought the lightening by setting quick time with a lap of 12.794. In his #14 DDNI KPC, the Champion finished 6th in the dash and that is where he started the night’s A-Main. Once the green flag flew, Meyers was contending to move into the top-three by Lap 4. As the field started encountering traffic, the Champion was able to take away the 3rd position from Jac Haudenschild on Lap 12. Two laps later, the Californian jetted around Kerry Madsen to move into the second position.
On Lap 16, the racing action would be slowed when first a yellow flag and then a red flag was unfurled. When racing action resumed, it was short lived because the yellow flag bared its face just one lap later. Going back to the green, Joey Saldana led the field with Meyers hungry for a victory. With Saldana choosing the high line, Meyers took the lead on the bottom. The Champion drove out to a four car lead in his #14 Allstar Performance KPC. Saldana would fight back and track down Meyers.
The two were running side-by-side, clawing for the top spot. On Lap 22, Saldana got an edge on Meyers and slid back past him to take the lead. Entering traffic, the two would slice through it with just ten laps to decide the victor. Meyers would close on the #9 car in traffic, but never got the edge he needed to retake the top spot. With 2 laps left, Meyers had closed within .2 of a second on the Brownsburg Bullet. Coming to the white flag, Meyers would try to use his “hot foot” in the bottom groove to steal the victory, but came up within 0.419 of victory.
“I love coming and racing here because of all the fans,” Meyers expressed after the exciting finish. “It is great to be home. Joey tried to give the race to me by choosing the top line on that restart, but when they put that oil dry down, it killed the line I was running off of Turn 4. I stayed there too long, so it was a mistake on my part. My guys did an incredible job here tonight. We have a lot of people in the stands tonight who are guests of ours and fans. I thank you all for all the support. When we won the championship last year, it was for all of you. I have to thank all these people who make this happen like DDNI and Media Tile. I have to thank my partners Chris Luck and Guy Stockbridge. Guy brought us a long way and Chris got us to where we are today. He helped make this happen for all of us, Brian (Bloomfield), Glen (Beaton), Sam (Mathews) and everyone on this crew who works so hard. To everyone who is here tonight, thank you for making all this possible.”
After a weekend off, Meyers and his Elite Racing team will be ready for three nights of racing action beginning on March 31 with the make up race at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway. Then the Champion will finish his Californian tour with Merced Speedway on April 1 and Calistoga Speedway on April 2.