Tony Jackson Steps Away From 410 Sprint Competition While Focusing on Super Sportsman & Family

Story By: JUSTIN SNYDER A2DPR / SCOTT HESS RACING – NEWVILLE, PA – Effective immediately, Tony Jackson has made the decision to step away from 410 Sprint Car Racing in the Scott Hess Racing no. 88 for the time being.

While he will vacate the seat of the 410, Jackson will continue to drive for the team in the Super Sportsman ranks.

“I’m not quitting by any means, but I have some vacation planned and this is a good time to take a step back and take a breather” said Jackson, “We already kind of had a break planned, but this is a good time to try and reevaluate our program and see if we can’t get ourselves back on track as a team.”

Most recently, Jackson scored an 18th place finish on Friday during the Pennsylvania Speedweek opener for the team at Williams Grove Speedway, but failed to qualify for the A-main at BAPS on Sunday after finishing 14th in a B-main,

“When you have so much success in one division and then you go to the next one you expect to get your butt kicked,” said Jackson. “But when you go to a place where I’ve had so much success in BAPS and frankly just struggle, as a driver knowing we have the equipment and knowledge, it really weighs on you and that’s where I’m at.”

Following Jackson’s decision to step away from the 410 Sprint Car, National Sprint Car Hall of Fame driver Lance Dewease piloted the car at Grandview Speedway on Tuesday night. Putting a veteran driver like Dewease in the car allowed for the team to gauge any potential issues that may be plaguing the rookie upstart 410 Sprint Car operation.

Dewease qualified 19th quickest out of 24 cars in attendance with a fastest lap of 13.020 seconds, before finishing sixth in a heat race to earn the 16th starting position for the A-main. He then advanced two positions in the feature to finish 14th.

Car owner Scott Hess appreciates Dewease stepping in for the night and believes the insight the veteran provided could be essential in the team’s future in the 410 ranks.

“I wish Tony was driving the car, but having the opportunity to put Lance in the car really came at the last minute and we figured he could maybe tell us what we’ve been doing wrong,” said Hess. “It took all of warmups and time trials for Lance to diagnose a throttle issue that may have been hurting us most the season in terms of speed and I can’t thank him enough for stepping in and lending a hand in a pinch.”

Jackson added that he was also grateful for the advice and knowledge Dewease provided.

“Lance is one of the best to ever do this deal, so having him in the car for a night or so was a no brainer in terms of helping us figure things out,” said Jackson. “He didn’t come in looking to take my ride and I was rooting for the team to do well and maybe find something. I wouldn’t say the results were what we hoped for, but the team learned from it and that’s what needs to happen to get us going.”

Hess emphasized that Jackson was still his driver, and he believes firmly in the talent the rookie upstart has. He noted that he was currently preparing the Sportsman for Jackson to run on Saturday at BAPS Motor Speedway and that any future plans for Jackson in the 410 would fully be in the hands of Jackson himself. He also added that there might be future opportunities for Dewease to run the car for a handful of shows if his schedule permitted.

“Look, I started this deal up because I believed in Tony and I still believe in Tony,” said Hess. “We’ve been friends for quite a while and coming off winning a ton of races in the Sportsman, I’m not sure any of us imagined just how hard this would be to break into the 410 ranks. “

“I want to be sure Tony’s heart is in this and I want to make sure I’m doing what’s best for me and our sponsors and Tony regarding his family and career. Hopefully we can win a bunch of Sportsman races together and maybe Tony decides he wants to get back in the 410. If not, we’ll give Lance a few more cracks at things and we’ll just kind of play it by ear going forward.”

For Jackson, he’s incredibly grateful for all that Hess has done for him and continues to do for him and He’ll continue to strive for wins and success no matter what division he’s competing in.

“I just want to get back to having fun and competing for wins,” he said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and Scott has kept telling me not to do that and just go out and drive relaxed. We’ll take some time for the family, try and win a few Sportsman shows, and the goal is to get back in the 410 and hopefully be better because of it.”