By Mary Lendzion
Jason Henson has had a handle on how to win in NMRA Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle for many years now.
He frequently finishes toward the top in points, and he claimed his first championship in the category in 2018.
With the number 2 on the windows of his Mustang Mach 1 motivated by a 4.6 Four-Valve engine and C4 transmission, he began his chase for a second championship at the first NMRA event of the 2020 season, the 26th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout, which was Feb. 27-March 1 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. There, with more than 3,000 quarter-mile passes on his stock engine, he qualified in the seventh spot with an .016 reaction time and went all the way to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle when his opponent clicked it red in the final round of eliminations.
Henson then made the trip from his home in Florida to the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals in June at Atlanta Dragway, where he qualified in the fourth spot with a .006 reaction time and lost in the first round of eliminations with an off-pace 12.29 on a 12.19 dial.
He was quick to shake that off as he qualified in the fifth spot with an .019 reaction time and won his second race of the season with a 12.25 on a 12.21 dial at the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl presented by HPJ Performance in early August at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois. He followed that with an .016 reaction time to qualify in the ninth spot and exited eliminations in the second round after a red light start at the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Force Engineering in late August at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan.
Heading into the final event on the 2020 NMRA tour, the NMRA All-Ford World Finals featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, in late September at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky, Henson was as focused as he could be. He qualified in the thirteenth spot with an .025 reaction time, rounded up a runner-up finish with a 12.02 on a 12.00 dial and became the reigning Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle champion.
While the Coronavirus pandemic prevented NMRA from having its annual ceremony to celebrate champions, each was invited to share the words they would have shared on stage in front of their fellow racers, family and friends.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE EARNED A CHAMPIONSHIP DURING SUCH AN UNUSUAL SEASON?
It feels no different winning a championship this year over any other year, because the level of skilled racers didn’t change. Most of the heavy-hitters in the class were running this year.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU OVERCAME ON YOUR WAY TO EARNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
My biggest challenge this year was racing fellow racer Shane Williams four out of five races. We were able to win three out of four of the races against him, including the last race for the championship.
WHICH FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS WOULD YOU LIKE TO THANK FOR SUPPORTING YOU ALONG THE WAY?
I want to thank my team, because without them pushing me, I would have never won the championship this year. I want to thank my awesome fiancee, Gretchen, for all of her love and support. I want to thank all of our fans who follow us all season long, and the NMRA staff, for all their hard work to get the season in.
WHICH SPONSORS WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE?
I want to thank our sponsors, including DeatschWerks and UPRExedy Racing Clutch, for their continued support.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT RACING IN NMRA EXEDY RACING CLUTCH MODULAR MUSCLE?