For Bloomington, Ill., native Jason Feger 2009, was a breakout season. The 31-year-old “Highside Hustler” drove his No. 25 dirt late model to 22 feature victories across the Midwest.
Even though the newly crowned UMP National Champion’s talent came into broader focus this year, he has long been a force to be reckoned with on a regional level and his racing roots run deep.
“Racing for us is a family thing,” he said. “My grandpa Red Griffin was a racer, as was my uncle Rocky Griffin and my dad Bob, so I just kinda fell into it after high school football.”
At the age of 18 Feger began running a limited schedule in a sportsman car at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway and LaSalle (Ill.) Speedway. After completing college, Feger started his career as a mechanic as well as progressing into a late model.
Racing multiple nights a week and working soon became a difficult balancing act and three years ago Feger took a leap of faith, quit his job and began a full-time racing program.
“It was a very tough decision,” Feger said. “There is so much luck involved and fear with not having a steady paycheck, but we’ve been really fortunate this far, and now we have bought equipment so we could make our own T-shirts and now I do graphics for other teams in the wintertime to get by.”
Since making racing his career, Feger has steadily made a name for himself and enjoyed much success, but one of the moments that sticks out the most was, “Making my first World 100 three years ago. It was just something I’ve always wanted to do. Of course, everyone wants to win it, but you first you have to make it. Just knowing we were able to make it into the show was probably the best memory I have made so far.”
Another exciting moment for Feger came earlier this season.
“We won the second night out down at Kentucky Lake Speedway and I passed Shannon Babb and Billy Moyer to do it,” Feger said. “Babb is one of my favorite drivers because of what I have seen him do in a race car, and of course you just have to respect Moyer. To be able to pass those guys to win was such an awesome feeling. I was so excited my leg started shaking on the gas pedal and I got all nervous and was wishing the checkered flag would just fly.”
Despite the Feger team bringing things to a professional level over the past three seasons, family remains an essential part of operation.
“My brother is my crew chief, and my mom does all my T-shirt and sticker designs and is very involved and my grandma tries not to miss a race,” he said. “This is definitely a family sport.”
With 22 victories, including two WoO events, a track championship at Indiana’s Kamp Motor Speedway and the UMP National Championship to his credit, Feger said with smile, “This will definitely be a hard year to top. I am not a points racer. I like to give it everything I have. I’m not one to sit back and be happy with a second- or third- place finish, so this year was really big for me. But my main goal going forward is to win the World 100.
“I would also love to compete with the World of Outlaws or Lucas Oil Series and run a bunch of tracks for at least one season, but I’m real happy doing what we do. I get to have fun and go racing. If I can keep racing for a living and paying my guys that would be awesome.”