Jessica Dana has solidified her status as a rising star in Limited Late Model racing with three top-five finishes in her first three starts in the discipline.
Dana qualified sixth and ran inside the top-five throughout the duration of Saturday night’s 100 lap SELLM race at Myrtle Beach Speedway, ultimately finishing fifth. The race was her first at Myrtle Beach and came just three weeks removed from a second place finish in her first ever start at Southern National Motorsports Park.
“We were saving most of the race and we got a little bit of right front damage and I think that’s what ended up getting us in the end,” Dana told Race22.com after the race. “We also had a left rear going down in the last eight laps. It was just make the most of what we had. We did an amazing job. We ran super well. My team put a really good car underneath me and I’m super happy. We ran third a lot of the night and, to come home with a fifth place finish out of 40 cars first time here, we’re really happy.”
Dana, who races for Lee Pulliam Performance, has already turned heads in her brief time running in a Limited Late Model. She has a third-place finish at Motor Mile Speedway, a second at Southern National and now a top-five at Myrtle Beach. She has been a quick study and has been methodical behind the wheel as she finds herself knocking on the door of her first win.
“We’re doing really well,” Dana remarked. “Pro-Pac International and J&J Machinery, they took a shot in the dark, they gave me a chance and we have been killing it ever since and I have such an amazing crew around me. We do so well everywhere we go, it’s the whole package.”
While the 22-year-old from Olympia, Washington is new to the southeast Late Model scene, this is not her first stint in racing. She had been racing on the west coast, but a labor dispute ultimately suspended her racing career until last year when she began racing Legend cars.
“We won a lawsuit against Washington State Labor and Industries for something they did to us back in 2012,” Dana explained. “It put a huge stop to my career and I never thought I would get back into a racecar. I’m here now, I’m making the most out of it and I’m just trying to make the most out of it.”
The fifth place finish at Myrtle Beach is how Dana will end her 2017 season – a result that left her smiling and ended her year on a high note. Next season, she says she will race again with Lee Pulliam Performance.
“We will be with Lee next year,” Dana, who was in high spirits, said. “I don’t think he can get rid of me even if he tried.”
Early in her Limited Late Model career, Dana is showing the poise and potential that was also shown by Julia Landauer when she raced with Pulliam. Landauer, who won a Limited Sportsman championship at Motor Mile, has gone on to race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.