Jason White is a veteran of NASCAR who has now driven in all three of NASCAR’s top touring series, but the 2011 season brought big changes for White. White was tagged to drive for the newly formed Joe Denette Motorsports; Denette took the leap into NASCAR team ownership after winning the Mega Millions lottery. White and Denette have been working hard this year to get the No. 23 (Denette won the lottery after purchasing 23 tickets) truck into contention for wins and are having some great success though the numbers can be a bit deceiving.
White’s season high finish of 5th came at both Kentucky and Talladega while he led 44 laps at Bristol and finished in 16th.
Being a single truck team, to pull off a 5th place finish at Talladega was astonishing. Did White has a plan on attack headed into the race? Why of course he did, that would be silly not to. “Well pretty much I did have a plan,” said White. “I paired up with Kyle (Busch), James Buescher, and Todd Bodine and had all their frequencies in my radio. Basically we just sat around and rode 6-7th the whole time until it was time to go with 7-8 laps to go. I came on Todd’s radio and said you gotta push me and he did. It worked out good and if we had one more lap to go, we would have won the race, I really believe that.”
For White, racing is nothing new; it has been his life story since he was a child growing up in Virginia. He grew up racing go-karts against Denny Hamlin and developed a rivalry that lasted for many years as the two went head-to-head each week. “Now we have become pretty good, almost best friends, so it is pretty cool," said White of his archrival turned friend and supporter. That was evident when Hamlin was the first to reach out to White when he claimed his first career pole at Daytona in 2010. “It is pretty cool to start in the go-kart ranks together and to keep moving our way up, it’s just pretty neat,” said White.
Racing since such a young age White knew that was his destiny. As he said, he told his fifth grade teacher that he was going to be a racecar driver and she though he was crazy. Again the same thing happened when he was a senior in high school, that teacher told him it would never happen and to focus on something else. “I told them, I have no other dream other than being a racecar driver, that is what I want to be and that is what I want to do! It has now happened and it’s pretty cool to look back at that,” said White as he reflected back on his naysayers. My suggestion to White, which made him chuckle, send those teachers an autograph.
With White’s Sprint Cup debut at Pocono earlier this year (White drove the No. 32 car for Frank Stoddard Racing), he said “that was awesome and a dream come true, I hope to do more. It just takes a ton of money, a ride opened up and I was able to take it for that race. We finished 33rd, which was good for that team, it was a great deal and I finished all the laps. It was a great debut and hopefully I get to do more in the future."
|Hitting the high banks of 'Dega.|
Credit: Joe Denette Motorsports
With White and Joe Denette Motorsports being in the inaugural season together, a strong foundation is being laid for 2012. White has had strong runs and been up front at numerous races, able to contend for wins. When not in the battle, consistency has been key for the team.
“Joe is a great guy; he won the lottery and is a huge NASCAR fan. To drive for him is great and to have a startup team and do what we do is pretty amazing. Obviously we want more but to do what we do is awesome and we look forward to next year," White said speaking of Denette and their season as a new team.
Headed into Martinsville, White and Denette both are racing on their hometrack with a lot of pride on the line. As White said, “I would love a grandfather’s clock. Here is the deal, we finished 4th last year at this race and had the chance to win it with 2 to go, we were three wide for the win and I ended up fourth. At the end of the day, I am excited about it because I feel like we have a shot to win; this is a good track for me. “The goal for White and the team is to go out and win this race and to bring home the grandfather’s clock for Joe Denette Motorsports.
When asked if he can grade his season a success, being 16th in the points taking into consideration they are a startup team, White’s answer surprised me a bit. “We need a win to grade it a success,” he said. “This is not where I want to be in points, I want to at least be top-10 or top-five, that is what our goal was for this year. We have to win this weekend or one of these remaining races to say that it was a successful season.” I know the racers mentality is wins equals success and 16th is not a success for White, but I have to credit a lot to being a new team, onto bigger and better things for 2012.
White is all set for next season, he returns to Joe Denette Motorsports with long-time sponsor GunBroker.com. In fact, GunBroker.com has followed White for six years now after White approached them with a sales pitch, pitching himself to their company. Six years later, the company has been with White through several teams but has always remained loyal to their driver. As White said, “They have been loyal to me, I have been loyal to them and in NASCAR it’s unheard of for a company to stick behind you. It’s a good marriage between us.”
White and his team will hit the the track this weekend and do whatever it takes to bring home that grandfather’s clock for their team. Tune into the NCWTS race from Martinsville on SPEED, Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm est to see of the No. 23 truck can hit the jackpot once again for Joe Denette.
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