SAULT STE. MARIE, ON- Rising star Dustin Jackson will make his first career start on Florida soil this weekend, when he pulls onto the track for the 50-lap Open Wheel Modified event at Pensacola’s 5 Flags Speedway.
The event, part of the 47th annual Snowball Derby weekend, pulls the top competitors from the Midwest and Southeastern parts of the United States each year and is likely to present ‘The Natural’ with one of his stiffest challenges to date.
“I can’t wait to get to Florida,” beams the personable 16-year old. “Pulling into a new speedway is one of the best experiences a driver could ask for. There’s going to be a tonne of talented racers there, but as long as we’re prepared and focused, I think we might be able to give them a run”
The Modifieds will compete on the Friday triple bill that also includes Super Late Model time trials and a full program for the speedway’s Super Stock division. Due to the packed schedule, the Modifieds will have to work with limited track time for practice, a fact that does little to deter Jackson’s vigor.
“From any piece of video I’ve seen, the track looks to be wicked fast,” explains Jackson. “It just looks like a lot of fun. There’ll be some pressure to find the quick way around as soon as we unload, but I’m looking forward to the challenge”
“It beats tires up – that’s the one thing everyone’s been telling me,” continues Jackson. “So we’ll just have to be mindful of that and save our stuff. It shouldn’t be a problem, because that’s typically our game plan no matter where we race. They’re only starting 30 cars, and in years past there’s been a few guys sent home, so that adds a little bit of pressure as well”
Despite the fact that 5 Flags is radically different from the tracks he frequents with the OSCAAR Modified Tour, Jackson is eager to test himself against a new group of competitors.
“This is the kind of test that makes you a better driver,” offers Jackson. “I want to be constantly improving, and this is just the next step for us. A lot of the guys we’re going up against race these cars 10 months out of the year. They have a lot more seat time than we do, and they definitely know the track better than we do. It’s not intimidating; it’s just a reminder that we have a lot to adapt to and not a lot of time to do it”
“A strong run at 5 Flags would mean everything for our team. It’s over 19-hours from our shop to the speedway, but it’s all going to be worth it when we roll through the gates”
“I really can’t thank my crew enough,” says Jackson. “It takes a certain type of crazy to want to do this kind of stuff, and I wouldn’t trade my team for anything in the world.”
The event can be viewed via Pay Per View on www.Speed51.com.
Marketing support for Dustin’s 5 Flags Speedway debut is provided by Wardlaw Heating & Cooling, Frankie’s Towing, Union Limousine, Milne Transport, Project Track Champion, Winchester Arms and SL Promotions.
Fans can keep up with the action by checking in with the team on Facebook at Dustin Jackson Racing.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)