Jason Meyers had one goal heading into the 2009 campaign and that was to pick up his first career World of Outlaws title.
Courtesy: WoO Sprint Car Series Media Relations
Concord, NC—As has been the case for the last several seasons, Jason Meyers had one goal heading into the 2009 campaign and that was to pick up his first career World of Outlaws title. He came within just 19 points of accomplishing that feat in the closest ever points race in the 30-plus year history of the series.
Meyers won a career high nine A-Feature events this past season and was victorious 10 times overall including a preliminary feature win during the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in his home state of California. He led the series with 55 Top-10 finishes with 34 of those being Top-Five performances. He was one of just three drivers to lead over 300 laps of feature racing competition in 2009 and was quickest in time trials on eight occasions. He led all drivers with 10 wins in the Crane Cams Dash to earn pole positions in feature events and also raced his way into the dash more times than any other driver in the series.
The native of Clovis, California has now finished second in points three times in his career, including in each of the last two seasons and has five Top-Five point finishes in his career with the World of Outlaws. Meyers picked up wins at Silver Dollar Speedway in the Mini Gold Cup and Gold Cup Race of Champions opening night, along with victories at Paducah International Raceway, I-96 Speedway, Red River Valley Speedway, Ohsweken Speedway, Skagit Speedway, Cottage Grove Speedway, Clay County Fair Speedway and capped the year off by winning the opener of the World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
“I’m very proud of this team,” said Meyers following the finale of the World Finals. “This is the most wins the team has ever had in a season. They had a great year and we really didn’t turn it on until July 1. The second half of the season we had a championship season, we just didn’t start that way. We’re going to work hard this winter and come back and Florida is not that far away. We’ll be ready.”
Meyers remarkable second half of the season aboard the GLR Investments KPC included a stretch during the annual Gold Rush Tour that saw him finish on the podium in eight consecutive races to cut nearly 90 points off of Donny Schatz’s championship lead. Following a fourth-place run at Eldora Speedway in late September which was his 11th consecutive finish of sixth or better, he had cut Schatz’s lead to just nine markers. In the last 17 races of the season, Meyers finished eighth or better in each and every one of them.
“I think it just took us that long to get rolling,” explained Meyers of the slow start to the 2009 season. “We came out of the box this year off-base. There was some rule changes and things this year and we tested at the end of last year and thought we had them figured out and it turned out we didn’t. That’s the sign of a true team though. Nobody got their heads down and everyone kept working hard. We built a lot of race cars and tried a lot of things and worked very very hard. We tried a lot of things and threw a lot of things away, but in the end we got it figured out. We’re going to work hard this winter. There are a few rules changes again and it will be a short winter, because we are going to be working hard.”
One of Meyers 10 overall wins came in the $20,000 finale at Skagit Speedway on September 5. It was the first big money win for him with the World of Outlaws in his career. He had been close in the past to picking up one of those signature wins and with that one in the books now, his goal is to win a few more of the crown jewel events of the sport.
“Let’s hope so, because that monkey has been on our back for a while,” he quipped when asked if that win takes the proverbial monkey off his back. “We won a lot of races and night before the big ones and never the big one until this year finally at Skagit. Hopefully we can come back next year and we have a couple of other monkeys on our back that we would like to get off including the Knoxville Nationals. We’ll see if we can’t come back and get those next year.”
Meyers paced the field in time trials eight times in 2009 which was third only to Donny Schatz and Jason Sides. He led all drivers earning a total of 114 bonus points in time trials, with the Top-Five in qualifying each night receiving points. He was among the Top-Five in qualifying a series-best 36 times and raced his way into the Crane Cams Dash on a series-best 52 occasions.
“Qualifying is important and that’s about horsepower,” noted Meyers. “Charlie Garrett is one of the best engines builders in the whole country and not only is he our engine builder, but he is our teammate. We’re very blessed to have him and everybody that is on our team. When you get good horsepower it takes a good group of guys like D.J. (Lindsey) Brian (Bloomfield) and Glen (Beaton) and they know how to get it down to the race track and that’s what makes qualifying. I just get to pilot the thing. My hat is off to those guys, they do a great job. That’s a big plus for us going out and trying to win a championship.”
In addition to being the closest points race in World of Outlaws history between Meyers and Schatz this past season, it was also the closest three-way battle ever with Joey Saldana who won 21 times overall in 2009 coming up just 70 points shy of the title. A total of 16 drivers picked up wins this past season, including nine that were not full-timers with the World of Outlaws, along with 25 different drivers leading laps in feature events, making the 2009 campaign one of the most competitive in series history.
“It gets tougher every day,” Meyers shared when asked about the level of competition with the World of Outlaws. “I don’t think at any time in the history of the World of Outlaws did you have this many teams with this much talent, working this hard at it. You always had one or two guys that were really good and usually far better than the rest. Right now, you have 6-10 teams out here that got a lot of talent and work very hard at it. Of course, technology has made things more and more even every day. That’s what you’re seeing in all of auto racing especially here in the World of Outlaws. It’s definitely gotten as tough as it’s ever been.”
With plenty of work to do in the shop as well as some off-season racing on the horizon, the winter will go by quick for Meyers and his team, though they will take some time to recharge their batteries as they gear up for another run at the World of Outlaws title in 2010.
“We’re definitely going to take some time to relax and time with the family,” Meyers said. “My daughter Delaney is two years old and we are just having a blast being a family. I’m really looking forward to some time off as are the guys. D.J. (Lindsey- Crew Chief) is newly married here so this will be his first winter at home. We’re looking forward to everybody getting a little break, but at the same time we’ll be at the shop working hard.”
The 2010 World of Outlaws season kicks off on February 5-7 with the 39th annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park, an event that Meyers has won at in the past and has eight career Top-10 finishes in 10 starts at the half-mile.
By the Numbers Jason Meyers 2009:
2- Total wins for Meyers at Silver Dollar Speedway in his home state of California in 2009
3-Times in his career that Meyers has finished second in points with the World of Outlaws
8- Times that he was fastest in time trials in 2009; SuperClean Start Awards for Meyers this past season to lead all drivers
9-A-Feature wins for Meyers this past season with the World of Outlaws; Penske Power Positions earned for finishing third in feature events to lead all drivers
9.269- Track record set by Meyers at River Cities Speedway on August 21, the fastest lap in series history
10- Total wins for the veteran driver including a preliminary feature win; Wins in the Crane Cams Dash to earn pole positions to lead all drivers
19- Points that separated Meyers and Donny Schatz at the end of the year
34- Top-Five finishes in 2009
52- Times that he raced his way into the Crane Cams Dash this season to lead all drivers
55- Top-10 finishes for Meyers to lead the series
306- Laps led this season for Meyers which was third most in the series
8889- Points earned by Meyers to finish second in the championship standings in 2009
20,000- Dollars won by Meyers on September 5 at Skagit Speedway to earn his biggest payday in a World of Outlaws event
255,905- Dollars earned by Meyers this past season