Jak Crawford, the 13-year-old, multi-dimensional racer from Texas, is putting an end to Legends Car racing. Having raced in the discipline on and off for the last two seasons, the young, racing talent is going to focus on only one racing category for the spring and summer of 2019. Crawford wrapped up his Legends Car career at the INEX 2019 Battle of the Bigtop Spring Nationals in his home state on the grounds of the Texas Motor Speedway and was once again victorious.
Moving up to the highest category of racing in Legend Cars, the Professional ranks, Crawford has found himself consistently at the front of any field in each and every event he has entered for his brief three month pro career, and this past week was no different. The week long, five race Spring Nationals event started off well for Crawford as he quickly showed his pace in the practice sessions. Then for the first of five qualifying events, Jak put the Mark Nahrstedt Race Cars #52 hot rod on pole, but racing is a cruel sport sometimes and many circumstances can’t be controlled by a driver.
Race one was a disaster for Jak from the start. The off-pole driver jumped the start and Crawford immediately had to switch to attack mode. The “Lil Texas” oval track has a single-groove racing line that requires moving your competitors out of the way to pass, so when a yellow flag came out and the lane “choose” option presented itself on an early restart, Jak chose to start on the outside. It doesn’t work well if the off-pole racer doesn’t jump the start and Jak quickly found himself in eighth position with less than five laps of racing. To make matters worse, a penalty was called on him a few laps later for a discretionary pass and he found himself at the back of the field. By the time the 25-lap event was over, Jak battled back to the fourth position, but far short of his winning expectations.
For the second race of the event, Jak missed qualifying on the pole position by a scant .004 seconds and in the end, that would probably be the margin by which he would lose another race by. Starting on the outside of the front row, Crawford luckily managed to slot-down to third position on the start and that would be where he would finish as the top seven cars were unable to make a single pass for the entire caution free, twenty-five lap race.
“I made two very small mistakes on my flyer for race two qualifying and still only missed the pole by .004 seconds, so not claiming the inside front row starting sport or winning the race is 100% on me,” admitted Crawford.
Race three and four would take place the next night after a huge cold front and high winds moved into the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Jak would garner the pole positions for both races, and hang on to win race three after several caution periods and his fellow competitors aggressively trying to push him out of the way on restarts. The same over-aggressiveness from these competitors would continue into race four, and although Jak led all laps but the last four, he would be involved in a restart incident would be forced to the sidelines.
The fifth and final race of the week was on Sunday morning, just before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event kicked off at Texas Motor Speedway. Again, Jak would start on pole and score the fastest lap of the weekend for all the 40+ Legends Cars as part of the event.
“I just couldn’t hold on to the car near the end of the race,” explained Crawford. “I led all but the last three laps but the car was so loose compared to qualifying I couldn’t keep the rear tires under me. The bigger problem was my brakes were so bad near the end of the race because there were no cautions. When a car is very loose you use more brakes and they wear down from the heat. That is what happened to me and why I was only able to hold on to a second place finish.”
Now that Crawford’s Legends Car career is complete, he will focus for the remainder of 2019 on formula car racing. He has been racing the 2018/2019 NACAM F4 series in Mexico, and is the series points leader. Later in April, Crawford will have a major announcement adding even more formula car race events once he turns 14 years of age in May.
“I like to race a lot of different things, but I have some great opportunities in formula cars for 2019 and beyond so I need to focus on those opportunities,” continued Crawford. “I am leaving Legends Car as the fastest driver in Pros so I am going out as the top of the tops and I am happy about that. I will miss working with Mark Narhstedt. He is the best in the business.”
It is probably safe to assume that this will not be the last time Jak will find himself in an oval-based race car format similar to a Legends Car. It is not a stretch to imagine him someday soon in a stock car but for now his future is set in the formula car world, at least for the spring and summer of 2019.
Jak Crawford would like to thank Mark Nahrstedt Race Cars, OMP Racing Gear, and Bell Helmets. For more information on Jak Crawford please follow him on Facebook: @jetpakjakcrawford and on Instagram: jakcrawford52. Jak’s marketing website is jetpakjak.com.
Photo: Jak Crawford Racing