Traveling from Knoxville, Iowa, to Australia for a Sprint car race is nothing new for Skip Jackson. He's a native of Australia and raced there for years before moving to the United States, falling in love with his wife Lori and settling in the heartland of the country near one of the best dirt tracks in North America.
Skip Jackson has won two track championships at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, but his last one came in 1998.
Skip Jackson traveled to Australia in January to race against NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart at Typrepower Parramatta City Raceway.
Jackson spent a week near his Australian hometown of Sydney racing at Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway in December and January. He escaped the winter cold of Iowa to spend the holidays in warm, sunny Australia racing against some of the top Sprint car drivers in the world, including NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart.
Neither Jackson nor Stewart found much holiday cheer on the race track though. In two of the biggest races in Australia, Jackson went from leading to limping across the finish line in the final laps of both races. In one of the races, a car spun out in front of him just as he had taken the lead.
"Instead of winning the race, I ended up ninth," Jackson said. "That was more frustrating."
The 41-year-old Jackson is preparing for his 19th season at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. He was won 25 career races at the track, good enough for ninth-best all time, and 80 races over his career.
"It's got the nationals, which is the biggest race of the year, and it's got a very strong weekly program," Jackson said.
But he is coming off one of his more disappointing seasons. He won only one race in 2009 and was seventh in the 410 Sprint car class standings at Knoxville Raceway.
"There were a lot of things that just didn't go our way," Jackson said. "Some years everything you touch turns to gold. Last year wasn't one of them. It was just a matter of we didn't quite gel as good as we could have."
Jackson won two track championships at Knoxville Raceway, but his last one came in 1998. He won back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. He was second in the 410 class standings in 1999 and 2002.
"At the time, you probably don't quite appreciate (the championships) as much when you look back at it," Jackson said. "I drove for a real good team back then. Everything we touched turned to gold. It makes you look back and appreciate what good people you have around you."
The 410 class season starts on May 1 at Knoxville Raceway. Jackson finished 24th in the season opener at Knoxville last year and didn't crack the top 10 until the second race of the year.
"Our goal is to win the championship," Jackson said. "Based on last year's results, that's a bit optimistic - and it probably is -- but that's the point going is to win the championship."
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