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Jason Pike discusses celebrated career at Pahrump Valley Speedway

Jason Pike has become synonymous with Pahrump racing, having gotten his start 26 years ago at the age of 16.

The son of racing parents, his mother raced cars at the old Craig Road Speedway in Las Vegas and his father raced for the longest time around the West.

“My father makes it a point to say that he beat me in a Modified race when he was 45,” Pike said.

He is certainly one of the speedway’s most celebrated drivers with over 113 International Motor Contest Association Modified wins and 11 track championships throughout his career.

Pike races mainly in the premier division at the speedway, which is the IMCA Modifieds. This class combines speed with the ability to make quick turns on the quarter-mile oval.

“In the Modified car I have about 113 IMCA wins but many more non-IMCA wins,” Pike said.

In 1995 Pike qualified for the Nationals in the Modified Division in Boone, Iowa. Then in 1998 he won the Modified championship in Bakersfield.

Pike said he reached the peak of his career in 1999. During this time he won three track championships in one year at Las Vegas, Mohave and Pahrump in the Modified Division. In that same year, he also won the West Coast Super Stock Championship in Pahrump.

From 1993 to 2014 his wins at various tracks were in the double digits in three different years. The driver considers his racing a passion.

“I would say this has been more than a hobby for me,” he said. “I was truly going for a professional career.”

For the longest time at the speedway, Pike was the person to beat in West Coast Super Stock and the Modified Division.

When he won his 100th race in 2006, Don McDermott, then PVT sports editor, wrote this about Pike: “Pike provided some of the best side-by-side racing ever seen at the Speedway (during his 100th victory) —plus they raced ‘clean.’”

Pike, who is now 42, said he was slowing down but is not out yet. Two years ago he won the West Coast Super Stock Western Regional Championship.

“It gets harder to take the g-forces on the body when you make the turns,” he said. “I don’t think that people realize that a racer has to be in shape to do that and as you get older it gets harder.”

He said he is ready to pass the torch on to his kids Jake Pike (11) and Jaiden Pike (10).

“I am enjoying watching my kids race the Mini Dwarfs at the track,” Pike said. “I am the side coach now.”

Pike said he has been asked by other drivers and race promoter Chad Broadhead about racing in the upcoming Sam Stringer Memorial in July. However, with the track not having a IMCA sanction this year, Pike has been not racing the track.

“I have nothing against Chad Broadhead,” he said. “I told Chad to his face that he did what he had to do and he asked me, ‘What will it take to bring you back?’ And I said, ‘When I see something I like, I will be back, but until then I am enjoying my kids.’ If he doesn’t sanction, then I won’t be back.”

According to Pike, the other Modified drivers are still around Pahrump, they are just not racing at the speedway.

“They haven’t moved away,” he said. “A lot of the racers are just doing other races. They are trail riding and out doing other things.”

The one thing that he did tell Broadhead was that IMCA keeps track of a racer’s stats and that is one of the reasons why racers like racing at a sanctioned track among other things like race insurance.

Of course just because Pike races IMCA Modifieds now, does not mean he won’t race non-sanctioned cars. He still races his Super Stock car.

As far as milestones, there is not much more Pike is after.

“There is really nothing I need to do,” Pike said. “I like to do it because it relaxes me. You need that release in life. When I am all stressed out I race. I like the competition and I like when you are one-on-one with everyone.”

When he is not racing he is working in the family construction business and raising his kids.

When asked if he would do anything else in racing like promoting, he replied, “I did do that already,” he said. “When this track was sold we opened Death Valley Speedway, which is now closed. For a year, there was no racing at all in Pahrump. So my father built a track in Death Valley. I really don’t see me doing that again. It took away from my racing career. I just was not having any fun at all anymore because people were complaining. That took the fun out of it.”

Pike learned what he had to learn about racing from his father, but his father could only teach him so much. It was Pike’s father who had the wisdom to send his son traveling to get more experience. His dad gave him his start in racing when he was 16.

“When I was 19 my dad told me that if I wanted to get better I had to race at different racetracks other than Pahrump,” Pike said. “My father took me to Ventura, Bakersfield, Hanford and Santa Maria. My eyes were wide open because of that experience. Those were fast guys. I came close to making nationals.”

After that experience, his father could see his son had the drive. His dad liked the fact that his son could hang with the best of the drivers.

Now that he is older and wiser Pike said there are things he wouldn’t do now that he would do as an aggressive, younger driver.

“I won’t put myself into a predicament where I am going to touch tires with another car where I might go up in the air,” Pike said. “I just don’t think my body could handle that. I am more of a ‘for sure racer now.’ If I see an opening, I will take it. I guess when you are younger you have more daredevil in you.”

Pike’s scariest moment came in 2004 in Boone, Iowa. He had an accident where is car hit a pole as he was passing a car for the lead. Pike was hospitalized for two days with minor back injuries.

Despite having a serious accident, Pike still says racing is a safe sport. He has never had any broken bones due to racing.

The racer believes one of most challenging racers he ever went up against was the now retired Scott Pounds of California.

“He has a son that races in Bakersfield now,” he said. “He was a Modified racer that I raced in my 20s.”

Pike said that when he raced Pounds the outcome was not always certain.

“We won some and lost some,” Pike said. “He was a great challenge. He was about 15 years older and had a lot more experience than I did. When they said Scott Pounds was there at the track, every racer wanted to beat him.”

Pike said Jim Perkins and Donny Berger were other racers that he admired and always wanted to beat.

Over the years he has raced some of the best. He raced Kyle Busch and even beat him a few times at the speedway. Kurt Busch was the first to cut his teeth out in Pahrump.

“Both Buschs raced out in Pahrump and that is a little known fact,” he said. “Kyle was 14 when he started racing out here and I even beat him. I remember he didn’t even own the car that he raced out here. He borrowed it. He didn’t have the best equipment, but he was a good enough driver to put it out in front.”

The only regret Pike has was that when he was younger he wished he had taken the opportunity to go to driving school back East to enhance his driving ability.

He was asked if he could beat the winner of the After the Dual in the Desert, Kyle Heckman, a young racer in his 20s. Pike just said that in his heart he could beat him.

Pike would like the track to get a grudge race going to see who the best of the best is.

“I don’t care how old I race against now,” he said. “I really have nothing to lose. Let’s get the whole town involved.”

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