TURNER — While a majority of stock car racing fans focus most of their attention on drivers in the premier classes, it’s actually those dozens of volunteer-driven support division teams that keep the sport alive.  

They’re the ones who toil week-in and week-out with very little fame or reward, committed to racing simply out of a true passion for the sport.

To see a fine example of this weekly warrior, one need look no further than Turner’s Troy Jordan, the current point leader in Oxford’s highly-competitive Outlaw Sportsman division.

Jordan started racing at Oxford back in 2000 in the Wednesday night Acceleration Series program, where he competed in the Runnin’ Rebel class. He won the Triple Crown for that division in 2008 and again in 2010.

He moved up into this Outlaw Sportsman class when it was created in 2013, finishing second in final points. He actually led the standings at one point, but his car sustained a blown radiator hose, resulting in a bad finish that cost him the advantage.

This year, he’s on a roll and carrying plenty of momentum as the season hits full throttle.

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“I’m pretty happy with the way we’re running this year so far,” Jordan said. “We have (three) wins, and we’re competitive each week the way our program is going right now. We just have to keep up with it, that’s all.”

Jordan says maintaining the car during the week is just as important in his division as it is in the premier class. Most casual fans have no idea how much effort goes into these machines between races.

“There’s always something from the week before that you want to try and improve,” he added. “The regular maintenance work can be time consuming. Whether it’s greasing the wheel bearings, or checking to make sure everything is still tight and right, there’s always something to do on the car.”

One thing that does separate a majority of support division teams from their Pro Late Model colleagues is the availability of volunteer help. We all know how busy our lives become, with work, family and other obligations. Finding guys who have the time and passion to work on hobby race cars is tough.

“I do most of the weekly maintenance on the car myself,” Jordan said while fueling his car for practice. “But my longtime friend and fellow racer Matt Dufault is helping me quite a bit this season. He’s taking a year off from driving, and I really appreciate his contributions.”

Dufault won his first Rebel championship in 2010, then notched a second title in the bigger Outlaw cars in 2012. He has more than a dozen feature wins to his credit. 

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“Troy has been like a brother to me since we were kids,” Dufault said. “We started going to the races together as fans, and eventually got our own entry-level cars ready to race. From there, we started improving our performance and finishes. Troy is a quick study.” 

Dufault also says a strong work ethic and relentless determination to succeed are among his friend’s biggest assets. 

“I like working with Troy because he’s one of the good guys,” Dufault added. “He works harder than anybody else I know, and has a lot of natural talent. No matter what he’s driving, he gets the absolute most out of it. I know if I can help to keep his car dialed in, he’ll have a good shot to earn that championship he’s after.”

As with every race team, support from local sponsors makes it possible to run strong. Jordan is fortunate enough to have a friend’s business on board, and it helped him prepare during the off-season.

“S & J Auto Recycling just came on board for this season, and I sure do appreciate their help,” he said. “The owner let me paint the car at his house and gave me the body panels to put it back together after I wrecked it last year. That made things a lot easier.”

As the season hits high gear and Jordan gets caught up in week-to-week racing, he looks at the points battle with cautious optimism. He knows what can happen if his lucks turns sour in summer’s heat.

“I’d like to see us notch a couple more wins if we can, but really we just need to stay consistent and finish all the races. It sure would be satisfying if we could hold on and win this championship.”

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