For CBRT’s Larry Jackson, 2019 was season of change. After starting in 11 NASCAR Pinty’s Series events last year, Jackson announced that he would be transitioning to the role of crew chief for the No. 21 Powder Ventures Dodge of Jason White.
“The cost of racing is so expensive,” Jackson said “I thought I’d sit back for a little bit. I like working with Jason as well, so I thought I’d try something different this year.”
Jackson starting racing when he was 15 years old. He has raced across Ontario, achieving ample success in Late Models at Kawartha Speedway.
“I was 15 years old and I watched my brother race a few times and thought it was really cool,” Jackson said. “I hopped in a car and I did really well, I finished third in my first ever race.”
Jackson made his Pinty’s Series debut in 2012, scoring his first podium in 2016 at Sunset Speedway. The Oakville, Ontario native has had 59 career starts over his seven-year career.
“We actually started with Jim Bray,” Jackson added. “I came to his team to help make his program a little better. He gave us tremendous help with our Late Model team and I really enjoyed that partnership together.”
Working as a crew chief can have its challenges, but when a crew chief has chemistry with the team and driver, it makes life a whole lot easier atop the box.
“I think for Jason, we work really well together,” Jackson said. “We’re on the same page when it comes to setups. He’s a very similar driver. We seem to drive with our heads and always see the car and its capability.”
One of the biggest challenges of being a crew chief is organization. It can be tough to ensure that everyone on the team is working to their full capacity in the right position. Most NASCAR teams have a plentiful roster of talented individuals. But knowing where to place them so CBRT can get the most out of their skill, that’s a different story.
“Biggest challenge is organizing people and all the personalities,” Jackson said. “What the capabilities of people are and organizing and getting everybody in the right position to do their best and best for the team.”
When not racing, Jackson works as a fire fighter in the Mississauga region of Ontario. Jackson has learned a lot during his time with the department, he has also found multiple similarities between the two jobs.
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“They are both really challenging and both keep you on your toes,” said Jackson. “You never know what can be given to you in any moment. With the race car, something can break or a pit stop could wrong or a tire could go down. Same with work but you never know what’s around the corner, you’re always getting the call and you try to assess the situation and make it better.”
Despite what Jackson calls a “soft-core” retirement, fans can expect to see Jackson behind the wheel up to three times this season.
“Oh, yes, yes, I’m definitely going to do GP3R and maybe (CTMP) at the end of the year,” Jackson said. “But maybe our first race of the season might be Edmonton.”