SCC: Birmingham: Billy Johnson race report

(Leeds, AL) 24 July 07 - After a strong series-leading fourth win in the Koni Challenge Street Tuner class in Watkins Glen, Billy Johnson was looking forward to competing in both GS and ST at the world-class Barber Motorsports Park facility. In...

(Leeds, AL) 24 July 07 - After a strong series-leading fourth win in the Koni Challenge Street Tuner class in Watkins Glen, Billy Johnson was looking forward to competing in both GS and ST at the world-class Barber Motorsports Park facility.

In the Street Tuner class, Karl Thomson ended up in the tires in turn 11 due to debris on the track causing the #76 Kensai Racing/Compass 360 Acura TSX to be out of commission until the last practice session before qualifying. With only a few laps under his belt, Karl Thomson qualified the #76 in the 13th position for the Saturday race.

An apex curbing knocked the alignment out early in the race causing Karl to slip a few positions before turning the controls over to Johnson at the 1 hour mark. The race remained green the entire time causing Johnson to start his charge a lap down. Pitstops barely allowed Johnson back on the lead lap where he charged forward turning laptimes 1 second faster than the rest of the field to finish the race in the seventh position.

The Gran Sport class. The Monday before the race weekend Billy was called by Team Owner Jim Click to drive his #154 Compass Bank, Jim Click Racing Ford Mustang FR500C with Jamie Sloane. In Thursday practice, his first time in a Mustang, Billy put the #154 in 8th of the 38 car field which was good enough for the fastest Mustang. In Fridays first practice session Billy only did one lap in order to allow Sloane to familiarize himself with the track. This one lap put Billy P1 until 1/3 the way through the practice where Bill Auberlen knocked Johnson down to P2. Johnson ended up with the 3rd fastest time overall after Andy Lally knocked him down to P3 in the last minute of practice. Once again Johnson was the fastest Mustang on the track. Jamie Sloane qualified the #154 Mustang a strong 15th position out of a 40 car field. During the first stint of the race, Sloane had a great run and moved up through the field. Due to a green-flagged pitstop, Johnson and Sloan dropped to 23rd when Johnson took over driving duties of the #154. With less than an hour to go, Johnson charged from 21st to finish a strong 6th place, the highest finishing Mustang in his first ever GS race.

"I would like to thank Jim Click for giving me the opportunity to drive such a great car with such a professional team" said Johnson "The sixth place and highest finishing Mustang of the race was great, I defiantly think we had the car that could have won today. Unfortunately the yellow flags did not fall our way this weekend."

Credit: JE

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Andy Lally , Karl Thomson , Billy Johnson , Jim Click