During the 2021 racing season in New England, one driver that has shown great growth while flying under the radar is Super Late Model driver Jake Matheson. The 18-year-old out of Hillsboro, New Hampshire is currently in his third Late Model season out of Legend Cars, and while the road has had it’s bumps in 2021, there have also been moments of brilliance.
One of those most recent moments came just last Saturday night at White Mountain Motorsports Park in the Pro All Stars Series 150-lap feature, where Matheson earned his fifth Top 10 finish of the season after running amongst the leader the majority of the race.
“That was my first ever time at White Mountain in a PASS car. We didn’t know what to expect, but I know that our car always handled better at high speed, high grip, high banked tracks. I knew we’d be better than we were at Oxford. It definitely didn’t stink, we were up on the outside of Joey Doiron battling for P3 for a while, but the car went away a little at the end, and we settled for P6. But, not a bad run,” Matheson told Speed51.
Matheson’s first flash of brilliance in 2021 came in their first outing of the year all the way down south to Hickory Motor Speedway in April. In the second race of the weekend, the No. 52 bounced back from a tough Friday race, to finish P5 on Saturday. Deciding to run a majority of the PASS schedule, Matheson’s best performance so far was a fourth-place finish at Hudson Speedway in June.
"It’s definitely cool. We learned a lot in Granite State last year, running fourth in points. We decided to run Hickory with PASS on Easter weekend, had a mediocre first day, but an amazing second day. So we decided to do more PASS races this year. It’s great to run with those guys, lot of them have done this for years and years. We’re still starting out, we started in 2019. Against guys like D.J. Shaw and Johnny Clark who have all those championships, it’s cool to run with them."
Next up for Matheson and PASS is the D. Anthony Venditti Fall Classic at Seekonk Speedway. Matheson has more laps around Seekonk than most tracks in New England, where he also won the track title in Legend Cars in 2018. That said, the Eastern Massachusetts track isn’t exactly in his backyard.
“The funny thing about Seekonk in 2018, that was the track I ran the most that year because I was going for the track championship and the national championship, and we won the track championship. I guess it’s considered my home track since I ran there the most, but it’s three hours away from us. Still, every time we go to Seekonk we get really hyped up about it.”
His laps in the Legend Cars at Seekonk have translated well to Super Late Models in terms of comfort. The only thing that Matheson has lacked at ‘The Action Track of the East’ has been good luck.
“Last time we were there, we got wrecked in the consi, the clutch was slipping, but we still managed to climb as high as seventh. We work at this car every week, we don’t just leave it in the trailer. So far, so good in the shop; we’ll be ready before the end of the week. We got high expectations after last time there, and last week.”
While Matheson has not run all 11 of the PASS North races, he has participated in all six races so far in the PASS Southern New England sub-championship, with the D.A.V. next up. He’s currently fourth in the Southern New England standings, and has planned the rest of his 2021 schedule to run all the races, along with the remaining PASS National Championship races, where he’s third points.
“After the D.A.V. we got three more races planned. We’ll run the Prelude to the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road, the World Series at Thompson, and back to Seekonk to finish up with the Haunted Hundred. So, four more races in total, then that’s it for us. This year has been pretty well spaced out for us, not too much rushing, no big dry spells. It’s been a good season so far.”
See the Pro All Stars Series D.A.V. Fall Classic 150 from Seekonk Speedway live on Speed51.TV this Saturday, September 25.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51