Race Weekend Central

Lowden Jackson Returning to ARCA West, Johnny Borneman Running Partial Schedule

Johnny Borneman will drive the No. 41 for at least half of the ARCA Menards Series West season for Lowden-Jackson Motorsports, team owner Chris Lowden told Frontstretch.

Borneman will run the first six races, though he could contest the full season for the team. LJM will field the No. 41 full time. In addition to the No. 41, LJM could field the No. 46 in a few races too.

Tony Jackson will serve as the crew chief. Tillys will serve as the primary sponsor and Stoney’s Rockin’ Country, Lowden’s own business, will serve as the associate sponsor throughout the season.

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“We’re focused on Borneman,” Lowden said. “The idea is, let’s focus on him and the No. 41 for the first three to four races.”

LJM began 2023 with Tyler Reif and RJ Smotherman both full time in the West. Additionally, the team planned on fielding Reif full time in the ARCA Menards Series East with Smotherman part time in that series too.

The organization started on a high note when Reif won the West season opener at Phoenix Raceway, which was also a combination race with the ARCA Menards Series. Yet Reif left the team midseason for Central Coast Racing. Smotherman meanwhile only contested the first three races of the season with the team before he left to drive the No. 38 for team owner John Wood.

Reif will compete full time for CCR in 2024. Smotherman is still searching for funding, telling Frontstretch, “We aren’t going to make the big races but going to try for some of the short tracks.”

The driver changes left Lowden unhappy, so he decided to get back to basics for the 2024 season.

“Given all the nonsense we went through last year in the last half of the season, just trying to pull back and say, ‘Guys, let’s just focus on this and let’s go racing,’” he continued. “We want to be the best we can at it and with the group of guys who work well together. Then once we feel like we have a good base, we can possibly expand. For this year, at least at the beginning, let’s regroup, start a little bit smaller and build our base, then figure it out.

“The core group, we want to go racing and enjoy it. It’s not a business for us, right. We want to have fun at it. So that’s what we are trying to get back to. We all know each other, we respect each other, we like each other and it all makes sense.”

Lowden still owns four Ford racecars. Borneman joined the team for the 2023 season finale at Phoenix and piloted the No. 41 to a 21st-place finish.

Borneman, like Reif and Smotherman last year for the organization, will drive with a Roush Yates motor under the hood.

To keep the No. 41 full time and therefore gain owner points, LJM partnered with Nick Joanides in the No. 71. The entry wound up seventh in the owner standings. Joanides ran a career-high nine events in 2023, amassing four top 10s, en route to a 13th-place result in the driver standings. Lowden expects Joanides to compete full time in the West and Joanides’ team will be allied with LJM too.

“It’s a pseudo partnership,” Lowden said. “He’s got most of his stuff back at his shop in California. But my guys are preparing his cars and setting them up and getting them ready. At least for Phoenix, the short track stuff they may do, we are not sure yet.”

After a year of learning, the first full season for LJM, Lowden has not lowered his expectations for Borneman.

“Yes, we’re going for wins,” Lowden stated. “We’re not going out there because we think we can finish 10th. We don’t want to go there and be like, ‘Hey man, we’re in the top 10. Good.’ That’s not our mindset. Our mindset is to be in contention to run up front and be in the top three. It’s very competitive at the top and so we just want to be there. It’s not that we’re lacking. We have great equipment, we have smart guys. And last year was really our first full year in ARCA. And we had to learn a lot. A little bit more than we wanted to, but it is what it is and we tightened up the ranks. We’ll start where we’re starting.”

Lowden has no plans to climb back into an ARCA racecar. The Las Vegas native was impressed by Borneman’s performance at Phoenix and fully believes LJM is built for success.

“Johnny is a good man,” Lowden added. “He’s a family man who’s got his stuff together. And so that part for us is good. And just having mutual respect; we are not the end-all know-all so we are figuring out stuff as we go too. It’s about working together as a team to get the best results we can. We have the right equipment, we think we have the know-how, it is a matter of driver feedback and again having everyone jell on the team.

“The feedback we got from Johnny and Justin Johnson last fall at Phoenix was fantastic. Like wow, you know. Justin couldn’t make it for Phoenix so Johnny’s in and we’re glad to have that partnership.”

About the author

Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.

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