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Jason Jameson was pleased when he learned Friday afternoon that his name appeared on the list of 44 drivers invited to compete in the spectator-free Dirt Late Model Stream Invitational June 4-6 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
The only problem? He doesn’t have a ride.
Jameson, 35, of Lawrenceburg, Ind., has been a stalwart entrant in Eldora’s two marquee events for the past four years, competing annually in both the Dream and World 100 with varying degrees of success. That support of the Tony Stewart-owned facility certainly factored into his inclusion as a invitee to the three-day Stream — an affair comprised of $10,000-to-win features on Thursday and Friday leading into Saturday’s 67-lap finale boasting a $50,000 first-place prize — that will serve as the 2020 replacement for the higher-paying Dream, but he’s the only driver on the weekend’s current roster who is in need of a vehicle to strap into.
What’s more, Jameson is one of just three invited drivers — joining Jerry Bowersock of Wapakoneta, Ohio, and Jeep Van Wormer of Pinconning, Mich. — who has yet to turn a competitive lap in this coronavirus-interrupted season. He was left without a steady deal for 2020 after Campbellsville, Ky.-based Rattliff Racing, which employed Jameson since late in the 2016 campaign, shifted back to a one-car effort with owner James Ratliff’s son Justin behind the wheel.
So what does Jameson have planned for Dirt Late Model racing’s biggest and richest event to date in 2020?
“We don’t really know yet,” Jameson sheepishly said from his shop shortly after Eldora officials publicly released the invitation list. “I’m gonna try it to put something together. If not, I’m gonna have to be on a bicycle I guess.”
Jameson does have an older model Rocket Chassis in his garage that he’s been slowly prepping to drive this season, but that process has gone slowly.
“It’s not ready yet,” Jameson said of his personal machine. “It’s almost rolling, but it’s naked (of necessary components).”
Or course, that car isn’t really an option to use at Eldora anyway for Jameson, who has been attempting to piece together an engine and other parts so he can at least enter events at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky., and other area tracks. He knows he needs top-notch stuff like he had with Rattliff Racing to make noise on the giant Big E stage.
Jameson didn’t rule out the possibility of striking a one-weekend deal to reunite with Rattliff Racing for Eldora’s Stream. He remains on good terms with the team — he spent February’s Georgia-Florida Speedweeks helping Justin Rattliff as a crewman — and on Friday afternoon had already talked with Rattliff Racing’s veteran crew chief Jeff Gullett, who grew close to Jameson while racing together for three-plus years and winning 12 features, a $12,000 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series show at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park in 2018.
Beyond that possibility, Gullett, 57, said Friday he was already attempting to help Jameson find a way to race at Eldora. Gullett noted, however, that Jameson isn’t the type of person who finds it easy to sell himself to prospective car owners or sponsors. According to Gullett, it takes some prodding to put Jameson into that mode.
“I like him, and I’m trying to give him some ideas of people to call, but he won’t call nobody,” quipped Gullett, a pit-area jokester who is known for relentlessly busting Jameson’s — and everyone else’s — chops. “He does stuff for people for nothing and people ask him for stuff all the time, but he will not ask for anything. He won’t ask a soul for nothing.
“It told him he’s gotta ask somebody. I ain’t seen no line forming outside his shop to ask him (to drive).”
Jameson doesn’t dispute Gullett’s assessment of him.
“I’m not a talker,” Jameson said with a laugh. “I’m a worker.”
Jameson does have some potential pairings in his mind and still has a few days to secure a deal for Eldora, a track where his lone crown jewel feature start came at the 2018 Dream when he finished 18th. During last year’s World 100 weekend, though, he piloted his Rattliff Racing mount to a third-place finish in a Friday-night preliminary feature, providing a glimpse of his potential on the legendary high banks.
“I’ve got to call some people and see who likes me or not,” Jameson offered, before jokingly adding that if he can’t secure a deal he’ll put his invitation up for bid and “sell that son of a bitch and make a little money.”