That’s what makes the story of Jacob Maynard’s race at the Summer Sizzler even more of an underdog story. Not only did he finish second in one of the Outlaw Super Late Model crown jewels, he did so in a car built from the ground up himself.
Thursday night’s race was the first time the Elkhart, IN native had taken his car to the track to race with. He turned heads immediately, starting on the pole after hitting the invert and leading over half the race before getting passed by eventual race winner Tyler Roahrig. Even with Roahrig checked out up front, Maynard held off the likes of former Summer Sizzler champion JR Roahrig, Bud Perry and Jack Landis for his career-best run in the event.
“It’s a totally new car, I built it myself. I think we’re the only home-built car here,” Maynard told Speed51. “The first time it saw the track was yesterday after we changed everything on it. I knew it was pretty good today, the nose felt really good. We’re racing with some of the best around for sure. Tyler (Roahrig) wins all the time and runs Sprint Car and does his thing. To just get beat by that guy, I feel like I did good.”
Maynard’s racing career started at New Paris, but he now calls South Bend Motor Speedway home. It’s a family affair for the Maynards. Uncle Ronnie is a former Sizzler winner, cousin Austin was also in Thursday night’s race, and they along with cousin Logan and brother Zach all race weekly at South Bend across different divisions.
He says coming up with J.Maynard Designs and his own chassis was out of necessity for him to be able to race around the Northern Indiana/Southern Michigan area.
“We go to work every day. We aren’t millionaires, we’re far from it. We’re regular people and if I want to race like this, this is the only way I can afford it. It’s a lot of work, I don’t get to go just buy one and pick it ready to go, I’ve got to do it all myself. With that all being said, it was a win for me tonight.”
It’s not the first time Maynard has impressed with a house-built car. He finished fifth in last year’s Summer Sizzler after starting 21st, quickly following it up with a feature win at South Bend.
While drivers are always looking to go to victory lane, Maynard considers Thursday night’s runner-up to be a major win after what his team has gone through to have the car ready for the Sizzler.
“It feels good. I’ve kind of struggled in the past, just learning stuff. It changes so fast and all this new stuff coming, shocks and this and that, it just feels really good. I feel like we’re back on our eight-ball again and I’m ready to race, that’s for sure.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo