It’s Covington In Jackson Nationals

Matt Covington celebrates winning the Jackson Nationals. (Doug Johnson photo)
Matt Covington celebrates winning the Jackson Nationals. (Doug Johnson photo)
Matt Covington celebrates winning the Jackson Nationals. (Doug Johnson photo)

JACKSON, Minn. — The Jackson Sprint Car Nationals added a new champion to its list of historic drivers as Matt Covington pocketed $5,000 in his first visit to the half-mile oval with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by MAVTV American Real.

The 36th running of the Jackson Nationals presented by the State Bank of Fairmont, Covington led start-to-finish for his third career Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour score.

“Jackson, Minn. —- this place is awesome. I haven’t been here before, but it’s definitely in my top-five places to be ever. I can’t wait to come back,” said Covington, who became the 14th different winner on the season. “The track was super heavy and fast and you really had to cowboy up. It was really fun battling with the lapped cars, but I’d really like to come back when this place is slicked up”

Starting outside the front row, Covington out dashed Kaley Gharst into the first two turns on two attempts after the first start was called back due to the stopped No. 15h of Sam Hafertepe Jr., who suffered engine failure.

Underway after a caution on lap three for Mark Dobmeier who went off the top of turn two, Covington found slower traffic by lap eight. Keeping Gharst at a healthy distance, the green lights stayed on until lap 19 when fifth-running Paige Polyak went into the wall with a flat right-rear tire in turn four. She was allowed to return due to a red on the restart for D.J. Brink who flipped in turn three.

Taking off for the final stretch, the caution displayed again on lap 27 as Ian Madsen came to a stop exiting the second turn; erasing Covington’s 2.631-second lead. Green for the final three laps, Covington went uncontested, winning by 2.465 seconds. Kaley Gharst held off several charges by Terry McCarl to claim the second spot.

“He was beating us on the starts,” said Gharst. “Our motor was stumbling pretty good but he was fast. There were a few times in traffic I was able to get up there but every time he would clear a lapped car, he’d just pull away while we got stuck behind another one. Lapped traffic was definitely tricky tonight. I was hard to pass them because they really weren’t going a whole lot slower than we were but it definitely made it interesting.”

Terry McCarl finished third.

“The car was working really well there. We kept running up on Kaley there and get a yellow and I had a really good restart there on that last one but got up in his bad air and got really tight,” said McCarl. “We were a little off on our fuel. The bottom end was really rich but I’m just glad to get a podium out of this deal for Jeremy and all our sponsors.”

Tony Bruce Jr. and Mark Toews rounded out the top five.

The finish:

Matt Covington, Kaley Gharst, Terry McCarl, Tony Bruce Jr., Mark Toews, Seth Bergman, Johnny Herrera, Dusty Zomer, Brian Brown, Brooke Tatnell, Matt Juhl, Jason Johnson, Brad Loyet, Gregg Bakker, Paige Polyak, Ian Madsen, Skylar Prochaska, Brandon Halverson, D.J. Brink, Tasker Phillips, Blake Hahn, Derrik Lusk, Mark Dobmeier, Nate Laugen, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Jeff Swindell.


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