Jackson Boone went into the 2019 season dubbing himself ‘Mr. Close’ for the number of times he had came close to his first-career Pro Late Model win. Several months later, the 19-year-old can still call himself ‘Mr. Close’ — close to becoming a champion, that is.
The Nashville native has won two Pro Late Model races at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville over the course of the season and currently holds a healthy lead over Dylan Fetcho in the Big Machine Vodka Pro Late Model points standing heading into Sunday’s finale at the historic 5/8ths mile oval.
While most Pro Late Model fields have hovered around the twenty-car mark throughout 2019, Sunday’s entry list shows nearly 40 cars from all around the country and even into Canada entered for the 100-lap affair to kick off All American 400 race day. Despite a little bit of nervousness going into the weekend, Boone is ready to take it on.
“I’m just a little bit more nervous than usual, there’s going to be a lot of cars there,” Boone told Speed51.com. “But pressure is a privilege and I enjoy that kind of intensity that goes around this race, that’s what makes this fun. I enjoy this kind of atmosphere and these are the kind of races I’ve been working for all year.”
With names like Pollard, Thorn, and Nasse expected to take part in Sunday’s race, it will be one of the deepest Pro Late Model fields Nashville has seen since the All American 400 returned as a Super Late Model race in 2016. However, it will still be business as usual for Boone and team as they look to finishing touches on a championship season.
“You’ve got to kind of change and adapt to the atmosphere that you’re going to be around, but you don’t have to change up too significantly,” he said. “We’ll probably approach things just about the same way we have been all year, stay with our tried-and-true method because this is what’s gotten us here to this championship position to begin with. We’ll try to approach things the same way and hopefully get some of the same results we’ve been getting all year at this track.”
The W.A.R Racing Development driver has been lights out all season at Nashville. In six races, Boone has finished in the top two five times and has a worst finish of fourth coming in July. The plan for the 2019 season was originally to chase after wins and not worry about points battles, but how things have changed since the season opener six months ago.
“It has been such a blessing, blessing would be such an understatement,” he said. “God has been so great to us this year. Our goal for us this year was to at least get a win, I had to break through and get a win. To get two wins and beat some of the best in the country is icing on the cake. To be leading the points, I joke around with everybody because at the beginning of the year, I kept hammering into my dad’s head that we’re just going for wins this year, I don’t care about points. And sure enough we’re in the championship battle, we’re leading the points. It’s crazy how life changes on you in the blink of an eye, it’s surreal.”
With the Snowflake 100 and a possible jump into Super Late Models looming, Boone would like nothing else than to add his to a list of Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville champions that includes Darrell Waltrip, Coo Coo and Sterling Marlin, and Bobby Hamilton just to name a few.
“It would mean everything, I have absolutely no words for the kind of prestige that goes around that kind of title. You go back and look at every single name that is not the list of not only winners, but champions, it’s a jaw-dropping list,” he stated. “To be able to put your name on that list with other people, that’s something else. I have no words for that because to be able to fathom that, it takes time. I’m trying not to get caught up in it, it’s not completely over yet but things look good and we’ll just try to carry it out and finish things out this weekend.”
Race fans unable to make it to Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville to watch Boone chase the Big Machine Vodka Pro Late Model championship will be able to watch the race as part of the All American 400 live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Click here to purchase your PPV ticket today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com