Inside Line Promotions - JACKSON, Minn. (June 28, 2021) - Justin Henderson recorded top-20 finishes during the first two nights of the 43rd annual AGCO Jackson Nationals before he and the Mike Sandvig No. 7 were caught up in misfortune during the finale of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series crown jewel event at Jackson Motorplex.
"We were good at different times, but it just seems like we were really needing to come from behind most the weekend," Henderson said. "Obviously we wanted better results with the Outlaws in town and a lot of money on the line, but I definitely think they knew we were there in terms of presence and having a car capable of contending with those guys."
Henderson kicked off the three-race stretch on Thursday when he began the night by timing in 21st quickest out of 36 drivers in attendance with a lap of 13.248 seconds. He finished fourth in a heat race to lock directly into the preliminary night A Main. Henderson ended where he started - 19th.
"We were not very good at all on Thursday and the fact that we even made the A Main was a miracle," he said. "But we found that we needed to make a bar change and salvaged a tough night by at least learning something for the future."
Henderson started Friday night with a lap of 13.300 seconds, which was good enough for 26th quickest out of 34 drivers. He then finished where he started - second - in a heat race and earned the 11th starting spot for the feature. Henderson settled into the 11th position early in the feature before dropping as low as 20th by the halfway mark. However, he was able to pass several cars during the second half of the event to finish 16th for his 23rd top-20 result of the year.
"We were pretty good on Night 2, but we got shuffled back on the start and from there we had no choice but to be really up on the wheel," he said. "We were just a victim of circumstance and from there we were playing catch-up."
Henderson sat 16th in points earned from both preliminary events and as a result had to run a qualifier to get into the A Main during the finale. Rain postponed the event on Saturday and once racing got underway on Sunday, Henderson finished where he started - fourth - to lock into the feature in the 16th starting spot.
Henderson quickly dispatched of two cars at the drop of the green flag to move into the 14th position. However, two drivers got together in turn three and he had nowhere to go. Contact with a car caused right rear damage. The team attempted to change the right rear tire to return to competition, but deemed the damage too substantial to return. Henderson was credited with finishing 23rd as a result.
"We had one heck of start and I felt like we were going to really be able to go forward and have a shot at contending," Henderson said. "But as quick as we got going our night ended. It was just pure bad luck and I feel awful for our guys. I tried my hardest to miss them, but it was just a wrong place at the wrong time type of deal."
Next up for Henderson and Sandvig will be a return to familiarity for a regular weekly show at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa, on Saturday. Henderson enters the weekend fourth in the points standings and he trails second by only 32 markers.
"I still feel like we have a good shot at getting the points deal at Knoxville and that's what we'll keep working for," he said. "I felt like if not for the wreck in Jackson we had a top-10 car against the best drivers in the world. We're getting to a point where we have a consistent car each night out and I'm looking forward to translating that into success at Knoxville hopefully."
QUICK RESULTS -
June 24 - Jackson Motorplex in Jackson, Minn. - Qualifying: 21; Heat race: 4 (3); Feature: 19 (19).
June 25 - Jackson Motorplex in Jackson, Minn. - Qualifying: 26; Heat race: 2 (2); Feature: 16 (11).
June 27 - Jackson Motorplex in Jackson, Minn. - Qualifier: 4 (4); Feature: 23 (16).
SEASON STATS -
26 races, 2 wins, 9 top fives, 13 top 10s, 18 top 15s, 23 top 20s
UP NEXT -
Saturday at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa
MEDIA LINKS -
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT - GRP Motorsports
GRP Motorsports, owned and managed by sprint car racing super fan Greg Parent, supports cars, drivers and racing events throughout the Midwest.
"Greg has been a long-time supporter of mine in my own deal for years and he's come on board to help with Mike's deal as well," Henderson said. "He's done a lot for the sport and my career and that will make it even more special when we can run well together."
Sandvig would also like to thank Mamma's Pizza of Wellsville, Emory Transmission, Eszlinger Electric, DeBerg Flooring, R2 Enterprise, Morton Buildings, Winters Performance, Schoenfeld Headers, BK Racing TI Components, SBS FK Shocks, Wings Unlimited, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Rider Racing Engines, Hinchman Racewear, Heartland Kitchen Solutions, Triple X Race Co., Boji Custom Metal Works and Simpson Race Products for their continued support.
INSIDE LINE PROMOTIONS -
Inside Line Promotions specializes in affordable public relations and media management for motor sports drivers, teams, sponsors, tracks, series, events, organizations and manufacturers. ILP Founder Shawn Miller leverages professional journalism with new media technologies and social networking to improve your exposure and the return on investment for your sponsors.
To meet the media relations needs of your program by joining Team ILP, contact Shawn at 541-510-3663 or Shawn@InsideLinePromotions.com . For more information on Inside Line Promotions, visit http://www.InsideLinePromotions.com.
*PHOTO BY TYLAN PORATH PHOTOGRAPHY*