Nashville, TN (Thursday, April 15, 2021) – In August of 2020, Jackson Boone’s racing career came to an abrupt halt at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Possibly forever were the 21 year old driver’s thoughts as his car sat on pit road being tended to by his pit crew as his competitors zipped by the front stretch grandstands at full race speed.
His eyes filled with tears – not sadness, but frustration. He knew the almighty funding to keep his No. 7 on the track was quickly drying up, and that late summer day at Nashville was not the heap of momentum the young driver needed to keep his dreams alive for the last quarter of the race season.
He needed nothing short of a miracle to make it happen, and the turn of events on this day made the effort seemingly slip away at his fingertips. He was hopeless.
The unforeseen-type, pesky mechanical failures in a series of events on this Saturday ultimately prevailed and the No.7 was parked for the evening well short of the 100-laps necessary to make up the event.
The 2019 Pro Late Model Champion at Nashville’s acclaimed 5/8-mile asphalt oval, didn’t know whether to fall into a fit of rage, or fall within himself, as he felt his dream crumble, literally, in the palms of his hands.
It was undoubtedly some of both Boone explained to us when we caught up with him at a recent test at Nashville’s Fairgrounds.
“It’s no secret we took an abrupt end to last season. I definitely still have a bitter taste in my mouth about the way it ended. But, I think that’s what is driving me so hard to bust some walls down this year.”
“I learned a lot sitting on the couch after that August 8 race last year. We didn’t have the resources to finish the season, and I felt beyond upset and helpless as I saw 2020 come to a jolting end. It’s called reality.”
“I know God works in mysterious ways. But, I didn’t just lose my racing; I lost a really close friend last year, and even more friends around me. It was insane. Everything that could go wrong did and I found myself in a state of serious depression.”
“That’s not something I have shared up until this point, but I feel like it’s appropriate to share now. If you’ve ever experienced trying to put a smile on your face as tears flood your mind and soul, that’s the place and person I had become.”
“I learned a lot about myself, and had to kind of go back to the drawing board when I decided to pull my boots up and return to the life and drive I knew and loved. The reality is, is that racing is a business, and I had to create what I would consider a “new Jackson Boone”, or “Jackson
Boone 2.0”, for that matter. Everything I had done to improve my life up to that point, seemingly wasn’t working. With the help of my faith in God, my family, and among new and old friends who I had drawn even closer, I had to find a new way to approach things again.”
“I had that reality check, thinking to myself, ‘man you can actually lose this, and lose it easily’. So I know I have to fight. You won’t get a watered down, or soft version of me anymore. I’m going to be who God made me to be, and whether I win or lose, I will be that person.”
“My buddy Steven Meador told me a couple years ago ‘cherish this, because one day it’s going to be over for good. You can walk out of that racetrack and get killed in a car accident for all you know, life isn’t promised, and neither are your opportunities.’ That really didn’t hit me until this last year when I lost my opportunity; the lifeblood in me.”
“I told myself if I ever got it back [an opportunity], there would be no ‘well, next race this, or next race that’. It’s this race and this race only for now. I’m going to treat every lap as if it’s my last one on the race track.”
Clay Boone, Jackson’s father and car owner, while sympathetic to his son’s state of mind, remained committed to help his driver forge a new path as the team looked forward to 2021.
“When we first jumped into racing, back in Jackson’s quarter-midget days, I quickly realized there were going to be extreme highs and lows- it is just part of this crazy sport. The key is how you respond to the highs and lows and you can either get bitter or get better. You have to learn to stay even keel in all circumstances and always keep the big picture in the forefront of your mind.”
“I am very proud how Jackson has responded to the racing and even personal adversity during our absence from racing. I have watched him exponentially grow as a business person, in his mentality, and both physically and spiritually, and for me and his mother, that is very rewarding.”
“We have given Jackson much more responsibility and room to operate on his own because at the end of the day, this is his passion and his work. That is hard for a dad or mom to do but you have to let your kids figure things out on their own. I have always said, ‘as long as my kids pull me I will always jump in and pull with them to help achieve their dreams’. Well, Jackson has pulled with extra force over the past ten months and we are excited to get back on the track and compete against some of the best short track drivers in the nation.”
“We have been very fortunate to work with some of the best in the business that helped with our on track success over the past three years. We are very excited to have recently partnered up with Jamie Yelton and the FHR Team to begin our new chapter.”
Yelton, a veteran late model stock car driver, founded Yelton Motorsports in 1999 fielding late model stock cars for himself. The team was renamed and completely rebranded to Fat Head Racing (FHR) Driver Development Program (Forest City, NC) in 2008 with Yelton retiring from racing to help form the new development team. Yelton and FHR have fielded winning cars in the UARA-Stars series for drivers such as Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Matt DiBenedetto, Brennan Poole, Noah Gragson, Ben Rhodes, and more.
Jackson Boone, who is held in the highest of esteem by his dedicated and loyal fans, will walk through the tunnel beneath the entrance to Nashville’s backstretch tomorrow for an open practice session in advance of Saturday’s 100-lap Pro Late Model season opener for the Music City’s historic stage of racing.
Boone says he will begin re-writing the next chapter of his racing career this week and acknowledges the help of some new and existing corporate partners who make his effort possible, including Roy’s Meat Service, New American Funding, Boiler WAREhouse, Schakolad Chocolate Factory of Cool Springs, New Day IRA and Oakley.
The race team will also run a memoriam for their 2021 late model tour dedicated to “Stuart 5”.
Brad Stuart was a teammate to Clay Boone on Trevecca University’s (Nashville, TN)
team, where he and Stuart (No. 5) shared co-captain responsibilities for the championship team. Stuart was a dear friend to Clay and was recently killed in an accident.
Once labeled the underdog, then celebrated as the champion, the Franklin, Tennessee native will drive it off of turn 4 on Saturday night to take his first green flag of the year, in almost a year, to celebrate persistence, and his love for the sport and its fans.
The 64th Season of Asphalt Racing at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway kicks off at 5:30 p.m. CST on Saturday for the Pro Late Models and all other local divisions. For advanced ticket purchases and other information, please visit NashvilleFairgroundsSpeedway.racing.
For those that cannot attend the weekend’s festivities in person, Speed51.com will offer a pay-per-view broadcast of all events.
Photo: Jackson Boone revisits the stage where he was crowned champion in 2019 in preparation for Saturday’s season-opener at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Photo courtesy, Zach Wesner.