Jeremy Doss celebrated his dominating performance in the 28th Annual Coors Light Montana 200 against a backdrop of silhouetted Rocky Mountains.
Doss led nearly every lap of the 200-lap event Saturday night at Montana Raceway Park after starting third, taking over the first position early and lapping all but three cars by the time the checkered flag flew.
“It’s not too often that you get a car that good,” Doss told Speed51.com. “I wanted to get to the lead early and set the pace. I think I got it on lap 15 and from there I just kind of set sail.”
While the No. 75 machine ran the circuits on cruise control, the rest of the field battled behind him, simultaneously burning up tires and a chance to challenge Doss for the lead.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but when I was saving, most of the cars were still going pretty hard,” Doss said. “By lap 55 it seemed like they just faded away, while I still had a really good car and just drove off.”
Though Doss participated in the designated practice day before Sunday’s main event, he didn’t need to. Doss’ car unloaded off the hauler race-ready, an advantage that came from another prominent race’s notebook a month prior.
“Our car was good out of the trailer, we just had a little bit of fine tuning,” Doss said. “The Summer Showdown was pretty much the first complete race that we’ve run [at Evergreen], and it was kind of a learning curve, but we learned a lot from it and took it to Montana.”
Boasting a list of winners 28 years long, the Montana 200 will now add Doss’ name for a second time, 2016 being his first success in the event.
The new victory is a notable comeback for Doss, who was unable to start the race in his own car a year ago, costing him the possibility of back-to-back wins.
“It’s kind of redemption for me to come back this year and show we’ve still got it,” Doss said. “In 2016 we won it, but last year we actually broke a motor in practice and didn’t get to really even compete. I just started and parked someone else’s car so we could get a little bit of pay.”
Now with big-win momentum to carry him through the rest of the season, Doss turns his attention back towards his points lead in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series. Out of five races, Doss has scored two wins and two top-five finishes, giving him a five-point edge over Eric Schmidt.
“Just to put on a dominating performance like that means a lot when you’re running with guys like Preston Peltier and the Riddles, it just proves we’ve got a really good team and car,” Doss said. “Hopefully we can keep moving and keep racking up good finishes. I think that’s how you win the championship- consistency.”
Doss, Peltier and several other West Coast success stories will be looking to prove themselves again soon, but not just to their region of America.
Come September, hand-picked drivers from every corner of the country will be competing against one another for national glory in the Speed51 Super Select at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN).
“It’s an honor to be chosen,” Doss said. “I know the old saying, ‘If you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best’, and racing against guys like Bubba Pollard, it’s literally going to be the best of the best.”
If the 21-year-old is able to pull off a win against veteran drivers born and raised in the heart of grassroots short track racing, the only thing he’ll have to left to prove is his age when the bartender ID’s him for the celebratory drinks.
“It feels good just to be invited,” Doss reiterated. “It’s right next to the [Snowball Derby]. I’m really hoping we can go there and prove that we can run with those guys.”
-Melissa Strahley, Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com