Winning never gets old for Kris Jackson, who certainly is an authority on the subject after another championship season.
Jackson, a 35-year-old from Lebanon, earned his fourth track championship at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2019 with eight feature wins in the Out-Pace USRA B-Mod division. That performance was key in propelling him to a second straight Out-Pace USRA B-Mod National Championship.
"The car count at Lucas—being as national points are based off car count so much—for our area it's the place that you have to race," Jackson said. "It's so hard if you go somewhere else and don't have a full field of cars. It makes it almost impossible to beat a person who's running against a full field.
"Plus the place is great and the people are great," Jackson added of Lucas Oil Speedway. "I don't feel like they're ever biased. They run a race track the right way and that's why I like racing there."
Just about any place Jackson goes he is a contender. In 48 USRA-sanctioned starts this season, he won 28 features and had 45 top-five finishes. It was remarkably similar to 2018 when he had 29 wins and 44 top-fives in 48 starts. Six of his feature wins that year came at Lucas.
So how does he compare the two national title seasons?
"I feel like the '18 season was maybe even a little better," he said, noting a few more big money wins around the country that year. "This year, we still did a lot of traveling, we just didn't race for as much big money this year it seemed like."
One thing that didn't change was the consistency that it takes to win over the long haul. Points racing, whether on the local or national level, is a grind. Getting caught up in an accident or suffering a mechanical failure can be devastating.
"It's hard to do," Jackson said. "You've got to make sure, for one, when you do drive somewhere to race that you're not gonna break once you get there. For me, it's harder to keep my truck going than it is my race going.
"I've got really good equipment and a lot of great people that help me," he added, mentioning engine builder Jim Ruble and wife Sally, cousin and fellow racer Tony Jackson Jr. and Rage chassis.
"Rage helped us out a lot this year. They really stepped up what they do for me," he said. "All my sponsors... it all comes together and makes for a great organization. It's taken a lot of years to get to this point. Most of my sponsors have been on the car with several years."
Sponsors include Ruble Racing Engines, Joe's Pharmacy, TJR Motorsports, VANS Motor Sales, East 32 Meat Processing, 3 Link Innovations, Rage Chassis and Starnes Excavating
Jackson said a new Rage car is coming for 2020, but he's engineered an interesting swap in the interim. He traded his 2019 car to rising teen B-Mod racer Dillon McCowan, who had purchased Jackson's 2018 car. Jackson is in the process is refurbishing the older car for some winter outings, which include his first trip to the Wild West Shootout in Arizona during January.
"It'll (eventually) be a backup car. I might even entertain selling it," Jackson said of the 2018 car. "Rage has stepped up this year and they are giving us a car to drive. We should be getting it around the first of the year and get it put together and make it my actual every-day car."
After back-to-back outstanding seasons, Jackson knows that 2020 will find competitors giving him their best shot more than ever before. He said the challenge of being the man to beat is something that he accepts and simply part of the territory.
"I try not to think about it too much," he said. "I just pay pretty close attention to my little circle—my wife, my kids—and several friends that I help out. Other than that, I focus on what I need to do and don't worry about anything else. Just day-to-day stuff.
"We'll do close to the same thing," he added of the anticipated 2020 schedule. "I don't know if I'll race for points. If there's a bigger-paying B-Mod race, that's feasible in winning, that's what I want to do. I want to hit every bigger-paying race that I can. If it ends up we can race for points at Lucas, we will."
The 2020 Lucas Oil Speedway season will begin on April 4 with the first Weekly Racing Series program of the season, following an open test & tune on March 28. The tentative schedule was announced last week.
Season passes, along with Show-Me 100 three-day passes, will go on sale later this winter. Look for that information at LucasOilSpeedway.com and on Lucas Oil Speedway's Facebook page. Contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan for more info at (417) 282-5984 or via email at email@example.com.