ELDON, MO - April 9, 2022 -Jacob Allen decided enough was enough on Saturday night.
As he watched the lead slip from his grasp, all of the heartbreaking losses, the close calls, and the what could have beens flashed before his eyes. At that moment, Allen made a deal with himself - "I'm not losing this race. I can't run second again."
It was like the 27-year-old native of Hanover, PA shape-shifted into a brand new man and introduced us to a Jacob Allen who simply refused to lose. He seized every opportunity he saw from the battle through traffic with Brady Bacon down to the Lap 27 pass which ultimately decided the race.
Chasing a perfect night at Lake Ozark Speedway, Allen struggled with backmarkers early on and gave the lead away on Lap 12. He promptly sat up in the seat and got it back, but another bobble on Lap 20 sent him faltering to second again as Brady Bacon appeared ready to claim his first-ever World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win.
Allen had other plans, however. He kept the Shark Racing #1A within striking distance and when the right rear tire on Bacon's #21H began going flat, he saw the door open and kicked it right in. The pair made slight contact twice on Lap 27 as Allen snuck underneath Bacon and muscled his way to the lead and victory lane.
"I feel like I've always been known as Mr. Nice Guy," an emotional Allen said. "But I felt like I couldn't lose this, I just couldn't run second again. I've lost so many times and I've fallen backward so many times. I knew he might not like me for it, but I had to do what I had to do. I respect Brady [Bacon] a lot and he's probably one of the winningest guys in the pit area, but I just had to nudge him a bit because I needed this win."
At the tune of $15,000, the Jason Johnson Classic victory is easily the biggest of Allen's career. It's his second-ever win with the World of Outlaws and his first since September of 2020. The extra special win at the Jason Johnson Classic presented by FK Rod Ends also came aboard the Bobby Allen throwback scheme with Jacob's father in attendance to enjoy the moment."
"Jason Johnson's program was and is still family-based just like mine," Allen said about how special this win was. "I have the utmost respect for that entire family and their team. I can't thank Jack, Tyler, Ron, Ben, Logan, dad, and Hannah enough. They've been through everything with me and they could've given up, but they don't. $15,000 is sick."
Outside of Allen's return to victory lane, Brady Bacon's prowess was easily the biggest story of the night. The Broken Arrow, OK native is a four-time USAC National Sprint Car champion and one of the most recognized non-wing racers in the world, but on this night he was taking it to The Greatest Show on Dirt.
In his first-ever race aboard the TKH Motorsports #21H Sprint Car, Bacon was nearly flawless at Lake Ozark. He timed in second-quick, ran second in his Heat, finished third in the Dash, and led nine laps before a flat right rear tire spoiled his shot at winning his first-ever World of Outlaws Feature.
"It's tough to swallow," Bacon added, after finishing 17th at the line. "It just wasn't meant to be. I'm really proud of our effort on this new operation with the Hinck's, though. All you can do is look forward to the next one and find a way to be better."
Also capitalizing on Bacon's misfortune was Spencer Bayston of Lebanon, IN, who scored a season-best second-place finish aboard the CJB Motorsports, Signing Day Sports #5. It's the fourth-straight top-10 finish for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender (second-best active streak) as he and crew chief Barry Jackson continue to gel well.
"I think we're as fast anyone right now," Bayston said from the podium. "Some things haven't gone our way, but we've made the most of the opportunities we've been given. This is what these guys deserve to be up here on the frontstretch. The first part of this year is all new to me, but we've done a great job of attacking. I'm ready to get that first win out of the way."
Limping home his own flat right rear was David Gravel of Watertown, CT, who barely hung on to finish third and score his sixth podium of the season in the Big Game Motorsports #2 at Lake Ozark.
"On a night like tonight we're gonna be extremely happy with third," Gravel grinned. "I saw Brady's tire going down and knew I wasn't far behind, but we barely held it together. Not ideal conditions, but I'm glad we got this in."
Allen's Shark Racing teammate Logan Schuchart matched his season-best result of fourth-place in the DuraMAX/Drydene #1S, while Brad Sweet earned another steady top-five finish in the Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49.
Rounding out the top-10 in the Jason Johnson Classic was Brock Zearfoss, Rico Abreu, Brent Marks, Giovanni Scelzi, and Sheldon Haudenschild.
NOS NOTEBOOK (Lake Ozark Speedway, 4/9/22)
Jacob Allen's second career victory makes him the 96th multi-time winner in World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series history and moves him beyond his uncle Joey Allen (1 win). It's the 63rd Series victory for his family with another 30 wins from father Bobby Allen and 30 more from nephew Logan Schuchart.
Allen's victory ends a 104-race dry spell since his first-career win which came on September 11, 2020 at Dodge City (KS) Raceway Park. He also became the fourth different winner through four years of the Jason Johnson Classic, joining Gravel, McFadden & Sweet.
The Shark Racing #1A recorded the first perfect night of the 2022 season by setting Slick Woody's QuickTime Award (11.464), winning his NOS Energy Drink Heat Race, winning the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, and winning the Jason Johnson Classic Feature.
UP NEXT (Fri) - The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will stay in the state of Missouri next weekend with a doubleheader at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, MO on Friday & Saturday, April 15-16. Fans can BUY TICKETS HERE, or watch every lap on LIVE on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature Results (30 Laps) - 1. 1A-Jacob Allen [$15,000]; 2. 5-Spencer Bayston [$6,225]; 3. 2-David Gravel [$3,725]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$3,025]; 5. 49-Brad Sweet [$2,725]; 6. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$2,525]; 7. 24-Rico Abreu [$2,425]; 8. 19-Brent Marks [$2,325]; 9. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$2,275]; 10. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,225]; 11. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [$1,825]; 12. 15-Donny Schatz [$1,625]; 13. 83-James McFadden [$1,425]; 14. 8-Aaron Reutzel [$1,325]; 15. 21-Brian Brown [$1,275]; 16. 41-Carson Macedo [$1,225]; 17. 21H-Brady Bacon [$1,225]; 18. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [$1,200]; 19. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,200]; 20. 73-Scotty Thiel [$1,200]; 21. 35-Zach Hampton [$1,200]; 22. 25-JJ Hickle [$1,200]; 23. 17B-Bill Balog [$1,200]; 24. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [$1,200]; 25. 7S-Jason Sides . Lap Leaders: Jacob Allen 1-11, 13-19, 28-30; Brady Bacon 12, 20-27. KSE Hard Charger Award: 24-Rico Abreu[+5]
NEW Championship Standings (After 13/83 Races): 1. Brad Sweet (1,826); 2. David Gravel (-40); 3. Carson Macedo (-54); 4. Sheldon Haudenschild (-70); 5. Donny Schatz (-110); 6. James McFadden (-116); 7. Giovanni Scelzi (-120); 8. Logan Schuchart (-138); 9. Spencer Bayston (-156); 10. Jacob Allen (-190).
Photo - Trent Gower