|Date: 5/29/2015 11:15:10 PM|
For Jason Harman, racing means quality time with son Jayden
By Dino Oberto…”Keeping Track”
(ROCK GLEN, Pa.) Rock Glen’s Jason Harman has done it all and seen it all. For the past 33 years Harman, 39, has been zipping around the area’s short tracks in a variety of different style cars from Modifieds and Late Models on asphalt to Slingshots and now Micro Sprints on dirt.
Of late he has found a comfort zone running a 600cc Micro Sprint at Greenwood Valley Action Track near Millville. The 600 Micro is a highly competitive open wheel race car and when placed with 20 others on the 1/5th mile dirt oval, they produce some amazing matches.
“It’s a very competitive class and it’s a very equal class. Most teams have good equipment and at Greenwood they’re pulling between 28-34 cars a week. There’s about 15-18 of then that can win on any giving week too,” said Harman.
For Harman, going to the races every Saturday night is not just about him either. It’s now a family affair as his 6-year old son, Jayden is also racing.
“When I got this car it was at the same time my son Jayden started running go-karts so it’s a good deal where we can both go to the same place and race on the same night. It’s not only racing but it turned into family night out for us between my wife, my daughter, my mother in-law, my mother and a couple of my buddies. It’s now our Saturday thing to do,” said Harman.
Harman last raced a Micro Sprint, a 270cc, over 10 years ago. In between he was running a Slingshot on pavement at Borger’s Speedway as well as several dirt tracks.
But, when Jayden came of age he wanted him to take the same route as when he did, in go-karts and when the younger Harman hit the track he immediately began to shine. Running in the kid kart class, his first season saw him win a handful of races and was runner-up in points. Last year Jayden set a goal of nothing less than a track championship and boy did he deliver, winning an amazing 21 times and easily securing the title.
“It’s awesome. He’s been gung-ho into racing ever since he’s been about 2-years old. He actually started driving when he was 3 in a kid kart. He ran that for two years and last season he won the point’s championship and had 21 wins,” said Harman.
At 6-years old most kids interest level are limited, not staying focused on any one thing. Jayden is that typical happy-go-lucky kid, but once he gets into his go-kart he’s all business.
“The fact that he’s been doing this for three years shows. Not only do I try to teach him all the right ways to do things on the track but so does my father. His racing mentality is way more mature than a 6-year old kid. He understands loose, tight, is the track pushing, is it the track that’s bouncing or is it the kart, all those things,” explained Harman.
“When we have conversations in the trailer, ya he’s 6-years old, but it’s like talking to someone that’s more like 12 or 13. At the shop he changes the oil on the car and does other general maintenance items. When we’re at the track he’ll set his own tire pressures.”
Last year Jayden also did double duty, taking laps in the Purple Plate kart class, which has a restricted engine that is geared for kids 6-10. Despite a limited season he still managed three wins and a fourth place tally in final points. This year he is running just the Purple Plate. Not surprising he is tops in points and through the first six weeks of the season is undefeated.
Harman noted that he plans to keep his son a few more years in the kart and then a Junior Slingshot may be in the cards.
As for him, he is holding his own with the 600 Micro. Currently fourth in points, Harman has had very respectable runs while on the cusp of winning.
“When I got out of the 270s it was just around the time the 600s started to come around this area back around 2002. With the technology that is out there now, shocks, tires, bars – it’s all advanced quite a bit since I had my car before,” said Harman.
“I’m still learning and trying to figure stuff out. With the 270 you’re shifting every lap and if the car is loose or tight you can do what you need to with different shifting points. With these 600s there more along the lines of a Sprint car only scaled down,” he continued.
“Some of the guys I know who drove Sprint cars will tell you the driving style isn’t a whole lot different than those types of cars. With a 270 you’re basically on the hammer all the time. With these cars you got more motor than car most of the time so you’re doing more trail braking to keep the wheel spin down and feathering the throttle in the corners.”
Harman noted too that he is appreciative of his sponsors and crew. K D Wolfe Trucking, Sally Pursell’s Country Inn, Fegley Vault, Seal King, B & R Services, Nunzi’s Advertising and Harman Funeral Home. The team consists of Mark “Pops” Harman, Jeff Sipler and Mike Labuda.
Harman has experienced a good career and it’s far from over. From his days when he raced on pavement at Evergreen to letting it all hang out on a dirt track, he enjoys it all and relishes it even more now that he shares the time with his son.
“The asphalt stuff was great at the time because it was close to home and we ran big cars and big motors. There’s more that goes into dirt racing because conditions are always changing. The karts and Slingshots were fun too. It’s all racing no matter what you’re in and the fact that I can spend it with my son and family makes it all the more gratifying.”
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