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– WHEATLAND, Mo. (Sept. 26) – Jack Dover likes the state of Missouri.
And who could blame him after the success the 21-year-old has had there this season. In nine races, the Springfield, Neb., resident has three wins, two runner-up performances and eight top-five finishes.
Last weekend was his toughest task when he competed with the ASCS National Tour in the Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo.
“That was a big race with a lot of cars, including some of the best 360 sprint car drivers in the country,” Dover said. “We all miss Jesse and I know everyone was going after that trophy with his name on it.”
Competing against more than 60 drivers each night, Dover recorded a pair of fourth-place finishes and had a shot at winning both events. It all started with a bold move in the first turn of his heat race on Friday night.
Starting on the inside of the second row, Dover had a plan and he didn’t waste any time once the green flag waved. On a fast, one-groove track where most drivers were staying on the bottom, Dover rocketed to the top in turns one and two. The momentum propelled him to the lead on the backstretch of the opening lap.
“I set my car up to go up there,” he said. “I knew everybody was running the bottom so I had to go where they weren’t.”
He led all eight laps and the heat win locked him into the feature. It also earned him enough points to make the redraw, which determined the first four rows of the feature. Dover drew the No. 1 to start himself on the pole of the 25-lap main event.
“We tightened the car up a little more,” he said. “We knew we were going to be on top the whole race.”
Dover jumped to the early lead and paced the field as the race went the first 11 laps until the lone yellow flag. After the competitors bunched up again for the restart, Dover got a decent jump with runner-up Tim Crawley a close second. Crawley closed the gap and slipped by Dover exiting turn four on lap 19.
“That’s the disadvantage of running first,” Dover said. “You don’t know where people are running behind you. And my right rear tire sealed over during that caution so my car was junk after that.
“Once Crawley passed me, I went where he was and it wasn’t working. I pulled the wing all the way back and just tried to hold on for fourth place.”
Lacking traction on a slick track, Dover slid back to fourth and Jeff Swindell pulled within a car length with two laps remaining. The duo battled in lapped traffic to the checkered flag, but Dover held on for the final lock-in position to Saturday’s feature redraw.
“It helps out a lot being locked in,” he said. “It’s less stress on the day. And less stress make you go better I think.”
Dover pulled the No. 3 in the redraw, which lined him up on the inside of the second row for Saturday’s 30-lap feature. In an epic race that went green to checkered without a caution, Dover was in the middle of a four-car race for the victory.
In thick lapped traffic midway through the race, Dover caught up to Crawley and Brian Brown. However, Brown slid up the track in turn four and the two nearly collided, which stalled Dover’s momentum. Eventual winner Jason Johnson got by Dover shortly after and Dover was unable to close in on the leader again.
“We were fast in the beginning,” he said after finishing fourth for the second straight night. “We were probably a second-place car, but I didn’t want to push the issue too hard. I was just trying to take it easy on my tires. I didn’t want to kill my tires and go back further than I was.
“Anytime you can finish in the top five both nights it’s a good weekend. I’m pretty satisfied.”
Dover plans on taking the next couple of weeks off before returning to the track with the ASCS National Tour on Oct. 13-15 at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas.
QUICK RESULTS –
Sept. 23 – Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. – Heat race: 1 (3); Feature: 4 (1).
Sept. 24 – Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. – Feature: 4 (3).
SEASON STATS –
44 races, 40 features, 9 wins, 31 top fives, 34 top 10s, 36 top 15s, 37 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Oct. 13-15 at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas, with the ASCS National Tour
FAVORITE NUMBER –
9: Top-five finishes in the last 10 events, including six in the state of Missouri.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
ON THE AIR –
Dover was a featured guest on the ASCS Show with Racinboys on Sept. 6 after winning the LOS 360 Nationals. His segment starts around the 3:30 mark into the episode.
He was also on the ASCS Show with Racinboys on Aug. 30. His interview starts approximately four minutes into the show.
He was also on the ASCS Show with Racinboys on June 14 after his win at the Eagle Nationals. His interview begins around 18:40.
Dover’s first interview of the season on the ASCS Show with Racinboys was on June 7. Check out the link below for his interview, which begins around the 6:50 mark.
Here’s a link to some on-board video of Dover winning his heat race at Knoxville Raceway on June 4:
Check out this video of Dover’s feature win and heat race victory at U.S. 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo., on Aug. 26:
Here is an interview with Dover after he won the LOS 360 Nationals at Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Mo., on Sept. 4:
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“Trail Performance Coatings, Inc., has always made my sprint car stand out,” Dover said.
Dover would also like to thank Thorpe’s Body Shop, Home Pride Companies, Inc., Certified Transmission, Shaver Engines, Eagle Motorsports, Inc., The Oil Medics and ButlerBuilt for their continued support.