Jason Pursley has finished second in Pitts Homes USRA Modified points at Lucas Oil Speedway so many times over the year, the veteran driver from Hermitage adds a disclaimer before even being asked about it.
Yes, the 2019 season was another good one for Pursley as he broke a long drought in winning a feature, was consistent throughout and suffered minimal damage to his equipment.
"We finished second in points again—of course," Pursley said. It was the third time in the last four years and, by Pursley's count, seven or eight times overall as runner-up at his home track.
While he's good natured about it, Pursley admits that being second so many times "is very frustrating."
"It seems like one guy is hard to beat every year," Pursley said. "This year it was Robbie Reed. He's a good racer. I really enjoy racing with him. He's kind of a quiet guy and he just gets the job done. Yeah, it's frustrating to finish so close, but I've finished worse than second before and that's no fun either.
"That's why it keeps you going and we're going to win it one of these days."
It's certainly something that motivates Pursley heading into the offseason and looking ahead to 2020. He and long-time car owner Tom Campbell plan few changes to the car, especially after they found some speed the last six weeks of the 2019 season when experimenting with chassis set-ups.
"We talked about getting a new car, then we kind of got this one figured out late in the season," Pursley said. "We don't want to start at zero, so the plan now is to do the same thing we've been doing."
Along with his August feature win, which was his first at Lucas Oil Speedway in six years, Pursley got to enjoy having his 16-year-old son, Dayton, join him as an on-track competitor in 2019. Dayton competed in the Out-Pace USRA B-Mod division and had a solid rookie year.
"We did get him a new car and we're putting it together now," Jason Pursley said. "He ran pretty good. He kept his nose pretty clean and didn't tear up a lot of stuff while showing some speed. He made all but two or three features and at Lucas which is a pretty big deal, considering about 45 B-Mods show up.
"It we can get the car a little faster and he gets a little better driving, I think he's gonna be right there."
Right there is where Jason figures to be again, knocking on the door on that elusive Lucas Oil Speedway championship. Perhaps 2020 will be the year he breaks down that door.
"Everyone sets goals and that's a goal of mine, to win a championship at Lucas," Pursley said. "I have a championship at Dallas County and I have at Springfield, but haven't at Lucas. That's a goal of mine and so I want to get that done before it's over.
"It's not a huge deal as far as pay or anything. It's just a mental victory that we want to accomplish."
The offseason already has seen Pursley enjoy a couple of big victories. Skyline-Urbana R-1 Schools, where he is elementary-school principal, recently received two of the highest honors for education.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson and Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven came to Urbana to present the Gold Star Award for excellence from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Pursley and other Skyline-Urbana representatives also went to Washington, D.C., last month in recognition of being one of eight elementary schools in the nation to earn the Blue Ribbon Award for excellence.
"It was our second time to win both of these awards. We won them in 2009 as well," Pursley said. "It's a pretty cool deal. The teachers and staff and everyone does a fabulous job. We hope to keep that rolling."
Gift cards, season passes available: Season passes for 2020, along with gift cards which can be redeemed in any department of the speedway, are now available. Contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.