When Jason Nation raced to a Sports Mod victory in the Bud Nationals last October at Bakersfield Speedway he was pretty sure he was done racing for a while.
So sure that he sold his car.
After all, triplets were on the way and life was changing faster than a quick lap around the third-mile clay oval.
But on Saturday night Jason Nation was there, with nine-month triplets in tow, having already clinched the Sports Mod track championship before even taking the green flag for the final points race of the season.
First, the triplet story.
Last June, the Nations were told they would be having twins. A month later, they found out triplets were on the way.
“It changed everything,” Nation, 29, said. “I sold everything at the end of the year because I was done.”
The triplets were brought into the world eight weeks early, but Jason and wife Kayla had to wait to get well acquainted with them.
“They showed us the girls (Madison and Brooklyn) real quick, they were so small,” he said. “When they brought Brayden we got a longer look then it was off to NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) where they spent four weeks.”
After going home, the new parents only had the trio for three weeks before it was back to the hospital.
“They all got sick with RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and each of them were in the hospital for two weeks,” he said.
It’s been fairly smooth sailing since getting back home from that and on Saturday night the triplets made their first trip to the track (in an RV), spending some time on a blanket in the pits surrounded by family, before leaving before the feature races started.
As for the racing, Jason’s father-in-law, Calvin Martens, sold a couple of USAC Midgets he owned and bought a Sports Mod and Jason was back in the racing business.
But in a different form.
“I literally just drive the car, before I did everything,” he said. “My brother (Cory) does all the maintainence and gets it ready for every race.”
With triplets, there was no plan to run for points, just to race when he could and have fun.
A solid start to the season changed that.
“We won opening night and I ran the top four nine straight weeks,” Nation said. “At that point, it’s ‘let’s go for it now’.”
It wasn’t the best night for Nation in the 25-lap feature, as he spun in turn four while running fourth on the 19th lap.
But hey, he knows there are far more important things in life than wins and losses on a race track.
“Still to this day, I’ll go home and tell Kayla we have three babies,” he said. “And she’ll say, ‘yes we do, Jason’.”
Last year’s champion Chris McKellar won the race, his third win in just eight outings.
Rick Childress Jr. finished second, followed by Nick Spainhoward and Garrett Jernagan.
The IMCA Modified and Western Racesaver Sprint Car features were not complete at print deadline.
The Bakersfield Hard Tops wrapped up their season with Marc McCaslin driving to his first victory and James Bradburn taking the championship.
McCaslin, who lost a race earlier this year at the Speedway with his transmission broke in turn four on the final lap, had his radiator fail after taking the checkered flag and pulled into Victory Lane with steam surrounding his car.
Bradburn finished second with Rich Souza third.
In California Lightning Sprint action, Bobby Michnowicz raced to his second win at Bakersfield Speedway and seventh of the season.
Michnowicz passed his son in turn 1 with six laps to go in the 20-lapper to take the lead.
“He got caught up i lapped traffic,” Michnowicz said. “I didn’t want to pass him but knew if I didn’t someone would get by me.”
Kevin Michnowicz finished second with Charlie Carcillo third.