April 7, 1986 in South Holland, Illinois, Jason Lee Bennett was raised by a dad
who is a motorhead and a mother who is a nurse. What a great combination. Jason
grew up listening to his dad’s stories of drag racing and he remembers staring
at his dad’s trophies when he was a kid. Jim Bennett spent his younger years
racing in Gary, Indiana at the US 30 Dragstrip but stopped racing motorcycles in
Jason’s first memory of a dragbike was at the age of eight while attending a
race at No Limit Raceway (formerly U.S. 41 Dragway) in Morocco, Indiana with his
dad. Jason can remember thinking he wanted to do that but first fell in love
with BMX racing, then later motocross, always searching for that “go fast or go
home” fix with every new passion. The first motorcycle Jason rode was an XR70
Honda through a youth program his mom and dad enrolled him in. It was called the
National Youth Program Using Motorcycles (NYPUM).
Jason’s next step towards his racing background was through his best friend from
grade school whose dad was an engine builder for IHRA and NHRA teams. Jason was
a frequent visitor and junior pit crew
member at the track. In high school all Jason could think about was motocross
But as with every one of the male
species in high school, Jason was also into cars. He loved muscle cars due to
the fact that he grew up hanging out in the garage helping his dad on his
original 1969 Z28 Camaro. A car his dad had owned before Jason was born. Jason
started out his driving experience with an ’89 Ford Escort as his first car. Not
very exciting but the car had enough horsepower to break the tires loose which
resulted in totaling the car fairly quickly by doing donuts in a parking lot.
His favorite car was his metallic blue ’92 Pontiac Firebird, which was also
totaled. Are we beginning to see a pattern?
In 2003 at the age of seventeen, Jason joined the military through the Army
Reserves. He was the first of the three Bennett sons to proudly join the armed
forces. Jason in the Army, while his brother Jimmy joined the Navy and Jake the
Air Force. Jason’s first deployment was Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007 then he
volunteered in 2010 for his current deployment in support of Operation Enduring
Freedom in Afghanistan. Jason said he joined because he made some wrong choices
in high school and wanted to begin making right ones. The photo below is Jason
with a couple of his buddies. Jason is the one without the sunglasses. The next
photo is the group on a typical day on the job.
While Jason was on his first
deployment in Iraq his parents moved to Pella, Iowa. They moved to Pella
following best friends who relocated there. When Jason came home to his new
home, his father set him up on a blind date with a coworker. Turned out to be a
wonderful idea because Jason and Brittany have not been able to get enough of
each other since. Two years following the blind date they got married.
One day Jason came home from his job
at the local Ford dealership excited to tell Brittany about a coworker who had a
drag bike for sale. She said, “go for it,” and he picked the bike up that
weekend. The bike had been sitting in an old barn for almost 14 years. The bike
belonged to Darryl DeMoss. It was a ’78 Kawasaki Z-1 with an 1197 kit, lowered
and stretched. Darryl had raced it in the 80’s and won numerous events prior to
parking it in the barn. The first time Jason and Brittany cranked the bike
shrapnel of corn came out the exhaust pipe. Jason changed the oil, lubed the
cylinders, switched out the plugs, slapped on new tires and they were at
Eddyville Raceway Park in time for the next scheduled race. Jason had never been
on a non-streetbike drag bike before that weekend but went three rounds on
Saturday and two rounds on Sunday. Jason said, “it was pretty awesome.” Jason
did a lot to the bike getting rid of the old body style and managed to convert a
wide tire body to fit. He then painted the bike to match his Dad’s Camaro. He
completed the bodywork and paint in one weeks time in order to surprise his dad
at a big 4th of July show at the track. Jason had painted, “Thanks Dad” on the
tail section. Jason said his dad was very touched.
Jason’s next bike was a ’78 KZ 900
bored to 1065cc mounted in a converted chasses. He bought it from NHRA Division
5 ET Finals Champion Mike Nichols. The bike was quick putting Jason on his first
ride with a slider and delay box. His goal was to get into the 5’s in the eighth
mile. On his first pass he ran a 5.92. He also won Best Appearing Bike at the
Division 5 ET Finals last season.
The 900 was a temporary fix in
Jason’s “go fast or go home” mantra set as a child. At the end of the 2011
season Jason sold the bike with the new goal in mind of running in the 4’s on a
small tire Kawasaki. People kept telling Jason that you can’t bracket race a
fast bike like that and if he wanted to win like the infamous Klemme’s he needed
a bike that ran 5.20’s or 30’s. Jason’s reply was, “Well, I beg to differ, I
drag race because I want to hall ass and do big burnouts (hahahaha) so there is
no reason why I can’t be consistently fast.”
While away on his current tour of
duty, Brittany purchased Jason a 2009 Kosman chassis powered by a 1500 Kawasaki
on spray. She bought Jason’s dream bike perfectly fit to his desired
specifications. Oddly he has only seen pictures of it to this point. Jason made
a list of what he wanted in a bike so Brittany and the DeMoss family started the
search. Once a match was found from Travis Farley in Columbus, Ohio they
immediately made the purchase and Dave DeMoss made the trip over to the Buckeye
state to pick up the bike.
The new Kawi came complete with a Star Racing head and a Fast by Gast carb set
up. The body is currently at Des Moines’ custom paint specialist, Cope’s Paint
Shop who is laying down a paint job fitting for a returning veteran. Upon
Jason’s completion of his deployment in September, the plans are for the
military to not play as big of a role in the Bennett’s lives. Jason plans on
running in the NHRA Pro Bike box class at a lot of national events.
In writing a story about a new racer it’s important to point out the influences
of what brings the sport new competitors. In Jason’s case, his dad has been the
biggest impact on his racing career and Jason hopes to be as good as his father.
Although Jim Bennett quit racing motorcycles in 1975, last season Jason
convinced him to bring the Camaro out and race it. The circle of racing is again
alive and well in the Bennett household.
Other Areas of Interest
Residence: Pella, Iowa
Spouse’s Name: Brittany Bennett
Occupation: US Army
Home track: Eddyville Raceway Park
Team Name: 1/8th Mile Assassins
Crew Members: Brittany Bennett, Jim Bennett, Jon Dekruif, Calvin Vos,
Derek Hiatt, Jon Hiatt, Dustin Dehaan, Kyle Olson, Dave Demoss, and Mike Nichols
Sponsors: ROB!!!, Trick Tools.com, Cope’s Paint Shop, Matt Riha at MWR
Designs, Inc. (helmet)
Special Recognitions: Divison 5 Final’s winner of “Best Appearing Drag
Goals: My goal is to win the Summit ET finals and go on to Pomona and
claim my first title. One day down the road I’d like to get on a pro mod and
compete in the ADRL PXM series.
Interest outside of racing: Riding dirt bikes, shooting guns and fishing.
Favorite foods: Big Mac with a large fry and a Coke
Favorite movie: Biker Boys!
Daily driver: 1987 ford ranger aka The Danger Ranger
Classic truck: I’d say my 87 Ranger is a classic!!!!!
First motorcycle: My first Street bike was a 2007 Triumph Daytona 675.
Hero: in motorcycle drag racing there’s 2, Dave Demoss and Kyle Olson
other then racing my Dad Jim Bennett