Alder is a Bojangles' Summer Shootout Road Warrior
Jason Alder spends a lot of time on pavement. Every week, the 16-year-old Alder joins his father in commuting seven hours from their home in Cooksville, Maryland, to Charlotte Motor Speedway to compete in the Bojangles' Summer Shootout. Alder can't get enough of the fierce competition and exciting atmosphere that stems from racing a Legend Car in what he believes is the best avenue for young drivers to hone their skills.
Alder's father didn't know what he was signing up for when he brought a $200 yard kart home from a garage sale in 2007. A year later, Alder - then a five-year-old - decided he wanted to race competitively.
"(My dad) wanted to make sure I had a passion for it before I began - I was only 5 at the time - so he told me that I needed to save up a whopping $100," Jason Alder recalled. "And, if I could save up $100, I could race."
Alder saved the money and got his chance. In 2009, he scored a runner-up finish in his first race at Maryland's Sandy Hook Speedway. Within a year, Alder had competed in 24 races - and won 14 of them. In 2011, the aspiring racer moved up to the World Karting Association (WKA) Gold Cup Series, which gave Alder a new set of lessons in race craft. In 2014, he won the WKA Gold Cup national championship. Since shifting gears to Bandolero cars - and now WIX Filters Legend Cars - Alder has been a force.
He earned his first two PNG Young Lions division wins in back-to-back races at the Bojangles' Summer Shootout earlier this month. Entering next Tuesday's action presented by Bojangles', Alder's white and neon green No. 77 Legend Car is atop the division standings.
The accomplishment means everything to Alder.
"This is the pinnacle of Legend Car racing," Alder said of the Bojangles' Summer Shootout. "In terms of interviews, the relations with the other teams, the other drivers, it's just baby steps. And I think this is an amazing foundation to build a NASCAR career on."
If he realizes his dream, Alder will join a star-studded list of NASCAR stars who used the Bojangles' Summer Shootout as a springboard. Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, Bubba Wallace and William Byron are only a sampling of the luminaries who traded paint on the same Charlotte frontstretch quarter-mile in their youth.
In addition to catching Alder's No. 77 in next Tuesday's Bojangles' Summer Shootout, fans can experience a spectacular fireworks show presented by NGK Spark Plugs and a driver autograph session on the frontstretch - both FREE for all ticketholders.
Gates open for Tuesday's action at 5 p.m. with opening ceremonies scheduled for approximately 6 p.m. The fireworks show is slated to get underway at approximately 8:45 p.m. following the autograph session.