It's Jamboree time: Chatfield's Bleess looks to defend title against top Modifieds drivers

Jacob Bleess became the sixth Minnesota to ever win the Featherlite Fall Jamboree last September. The 23-year-old driver from Chatfield looks to defend that title this weekend at Deer Creek Speedway

Chatfield's Jacob Bleess drives through a turn at Deer Creek Speedway during a race in 2017. Bleess is the defending Featherlite Fall Jamboree champion. He'll look to win it for a second year in a row this weekend. (Post Bulletin file photo)

From Ron Jones 21 years ago to Jacob Bless one year ago, the Featherlite Fall Jamboree championship has a tradition of landing in the hands of Minnestoans.

Bleess -- and dozens of other local stock car drivers -- will have a chance to keep that tradition going this weekend at Deer Creek Speedway near Spring Valley. The 22nd annual Fall Jamboree is scheduled for Friday at Saturday, featuring some of top Modifieds drivers in the country, with the United States Modified Touring Series.

The Jamboree has become one of the cornerstone events on the USMTS schedule and a must-do event for the best Modified drivers in the U.S. This year’s event will be shortened from three days to two, due to COVID-19 concerns, but that is expected to only magnify the intensity of the racing both nights. Last year, more than 70 Modified drivers checked in for the Jamboree.

Bleess added his name last year to a who’s-who of Modified drivers who have won the Jamboree at Deer Creek. It wasn’t the first taste of Jamboree success for the 23-year-old from Chatfield, though. He won the B-Modifieds division of the Jamboree six years ago.

Bleess drove what he called the race of his life last fall. He took the lead at the drop of the green flag and led all 50 laps, besting a 32-car field. It wasn’t easy, though. His margin of victory over runner-up Brandon Davis of Hayfield was 88-thousandths of a second.


“I’m speechless right now. It feels good,” Bleess said after his win last year. “We won here in the B-Mod like five years ago and it feels good to be back.

“I just stayed consistent and tried to keep the tires under it. The yellows kind of helped me. I wasn’t able to go through lapped traffic good. Pull a tear-off... Cool down... Clean track... Just hit my marks.”

Bleess became the sixth driver from Minnesota to win the Jamboree, joining Jones (Zimmerman, 1999); Willy Kraft (Lakefield, 2001); Mark Noble (Blooming Prairie, 2002); Tim Donlinger (Rochester, 2008); and Joey Jensen (Forest Lake, 2012).

Bleess is aiming to become just the second driver to win the Jamboree in back-to-back years. Jason Hughes of Westville, Okla., is the only driver to have accomplished that feat, winning it in 2009 and 2010. Hughes has won the Jamboree five times, more than any other driver. In addition to 2009 and 2010, Hughes also won in 2005, 2013 and 2015.

USMTS drivers will have extra motivation this weekend, as both shows will count toward the national points standings. Up until a year ago, the series’ national champion was decided at the Jamboree. This year, the final points races are set for Nov. 5-7 at RPM Speedway in Crandall, Texas.

Rodney Sanders, a USMTS veteran from Happy, Texas, is the favorite to repeat as the USMTS national champion. He is close to securing his fourth USMTS title, leading Oklahoman Dereck Ramirez by 179 points with five races to go in the season.

In addition to USMTS Modifieds, a full USRA B-Modifieds show will be held both nights this weekend. Waseca’s Jared Boumeester won the B-Modifieds title at last year’s Jamobree.

On Friday, Modifieds drivers will race for a $5,000 winner’s check, while simply making the A Main will be worth $400. Saturday, those numbers jump to $10,000 for the winner and $550 to start the A Main. There will also be a $2,000-to-win non-qualifiers feature on Saturday.


Friday, the pit gates will open at 3 p.m., with grandstand gates opening at 5 p.m. and racing beginning at 7 p.m.

Saturday, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m., with grandstand gates opening at 4 p.m. and racing beginning at 6 p.m.

• • • • •


What: 22nd annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree, featuring the United States Modified Touring Series

When: Friday-Saturday (grandstand opens at 5 p.m., racing at 7 p.m. Friday; grandstand opens at 4 p.m., racing at 6 p.m. Saturday).

Where: Deer Creek Speedway, near Spring Valley

Who: USMTS Modifieds and USRA B-Modifieds


At stake: The winner of Friday’s Modifieds A Main will earn $5,000; the winner of Saturday’s A Main will earn $10,000.

Ticket information: Visit


1999 – Ron Jones, Zimmerman, Minn. 2000 – Johnny Saathoff, Beatrice, Neb. 2001 – Willy Kraft, Lakefield, Minn. 2002 – Mark Noble, Blooming Prairie, Minn. 2003 – Dan Daniels, Humboldt, Kan. 2004 – Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa 2005 – Jason Hughes, Colcord, Okla. 2006 – Chad Kinder, Newton, Ill. 2007 – Dean Mahlstedt, Clear Lake, Iowa 2008 – Tim Donlinger, Rochester, Minn. 2009 – Jason Hughes, Westville, Okla. 2010 – Jason Hughes, Westville, Okla. 2011 – Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo. 2012 – Joey Jensen, Forest Lake, Minn. 2013 – Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla. 2014 – Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas. 2015 – Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla. 2016 – Tommy Weder Jr., Woodward, Okla. 2017 – Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa. 2018 – Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas. 2019 – Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn.

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