Despite Backup Truck, Clayton Is Fifth At Pensacola

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Despite limited time to learn a backup Pro Truck, Jacob Clayton still collected a top-five finish Friday night at Five Flags Speedway, keeping himself in the hunt for the track championship.

After a heavy crash at his home track, Mobile (Ala.) Int’l Speedway, a week prior, Clayton was unsure of his status to race until David Jones of Alabama Pipe & Supply stepped up to help the 14-year-old get back on track.

Wheeling the No. 64 instead of his usual Grant Thompson Racing-owned No. 17, Clayton made the whole night a “five-count,” qualifying fifth with a time of 19.35 seconds, starting fifth on the grid, and ultimately finishing fifth after running inside the top-five for all 30 laps at the half-mile paved oval.

All this came after a rain delay that pushed the racing portion of the program late into the night, making for cool track temperatures under a near-full moon.

Clayton’s fifth-place effort kept him inside the top-three of Five Flags’ Pro Truck point standings, two points behind runner-up Darryl Rudd and 14 back of current leader Treyce Capers, who won Friday’s feature. He entered the weekend just two points behind Capers and remains in a solid position.

Noting the challenges of having a short week to learn a new truck, Clayton was pleased with how he was able to run and still protect his chances for a title run later in the summer.

“We knew that this was going to be a tricky race for us, knowing that we didn’t want to tear up the equipment that we were fortunate enough to have loaned to us to race,” he said. “We can’t say enough how much we appreciate David for allowing us to stay in the points chase, and John and Grant [Thompson] did amazing work to prepare a truck that they weren’t familiar with in a short time period.

“Swapping seats and making adjustments to put a teenager my size into a truck built for an adult isn’t an easy thing, but we overcame the challenges and got a top-five finish I’m really proud of,” he added. “We’ll take our summer break to recharge so we can come back even stronger for the home stretch.”

Clayton would like to thank Four Star Freightliner, TICO, American National Insurance, First Choice Painting, Grant Thompson Racing, Grant and John Thompson, Midwest Suspension Co., Race Face Digital, the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, Modern Images, JackArse Rentals, Swift Springs, and Elite Performance Industries for their partnership and support of his racing efforts.

In addition, a special thanks goes out to David Jones and Alabama Pipe & Supply for providing the backup truck Clayton used to compete at Five Flags last weekend.

Clayton will now have some scheduled time off to complete repairs to his primary chassis and take care of other needed obligations before resuming competition on July 27 at Mobile Int’l Speedway.


About Jacob Clayton

Jacob Clayton is a 14-year-old, second-generation driver from Smith Station, Ala., who began his racing career in 2021 in quarter midgets and has competed full time at the grassroots level over the past three years. His accolades include 15 overall victories, multiple top-10 finishes in national points with the NASCAR Youth Series (formerly the USAC .25 Series), and time in three senior quarter midget classes.

For 2024, Clayton has made the move into full-bodied cars, running a Pro Truck for Grant Thompson Racing at Mobile Int’l Speedway in his home state, as well as at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., the home of the famed Snowball Derby super late model classic.

Off the track, Clayton is a staunch supporter of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation’s fight against pediatric cancer, as well as a soccer lover and avid iRacer as he continues to hone his various skill sets.

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