Looking at her career to date, Jessica James was quick to note that perhaps the most memorable moment of racing has yet to come. It may appear shocking, considering she has been racing since the age of 15, and been apart of every class in oval track racing in Ontario, except for Vintage Modifieds and Enduro cars – and won a championship in each of those. Well, except one division.
Despite being a consistent front runner in midget competition, she has yet to win a championship. That’s something she will look to change in 2018.
“Well, we are going to try and go for the championship again this year,” she told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS. “We came close last year – we lost it by two positions, but we gave it away early in the season. My nephew is also returning this year to run the other car so we hope to get him up to speed. Looking forward to going back to Varney Speedway, and really just looking forward to taking the 5 (Jody Bound) out – not out, but knocking him off the top so to speak. That’s the plan. I’m sure they’ll be a few other people that will step up and get up there this year. But he’s the guy to beat, right?”
The past two years have seen Jody Bound win the championship, out-classing the best in midget competition. However, he isn’t the only driver to watch this season for success.
“Well, the 68 – Adam Carrothers. He’s proved himself that he’s capable of running upfront,” James said. “Most of last year, it was the three of us on the podium. Jody, myself, and Adam had a lock on it as we had the field covered most nights, but you can’t count out Robin McLean. He’s going to put a rookie in the car but you know who that is – Jordan Howse. Rookie to us, but not to racing. I expect he’ll be quick. The Woodland brothers – they can put it together any given night and get up there, too. There could be a couple surprises, too.”
It’d be no surprise to see James do well, especially at her home track of Peterborough Speedway.
“Its been good to me,” she commented. “We’ve won the last two Autumn Colours and had lots of heat race wins.”
Those wins were simply the base of building upon seasons of success, including a solid campaign in 2017.
“It was a good season,” she said. “Its hard to complain when you finish second in points. We won a couple features, and we ran well all season. But we did throw a few races away from having a couple taken from us due to mechanical failures, and the first two races – I don’t feel we were prepared as we should’ve been. So that’s something you’re going to see corrected this year coming out of the gate.”
While her own personal success has been nice, it has also been great to watch the series expand since their inaugural campaign.
“Well, it’s going to be a tougher season,” she said. “This is our third year and we’ve picked up 10-12 new drivers. I see there’s no conflict with the other group – those who should not be mentioned – so there’s no confusion for the fans and any perspective racers trying to get into the club. We are the Outlaw Midgets, and the other people are the other people, and we don’t run the same cars. We are running a couple other tracks that we haven’t been at since forming the club, and I see that trend continuing.”