Johns Returns To NASCAR Camping World East Division Ranks This Weekend At Nashville NASHVILLE, TN (July 14, 2008) -- Of all the tracks on the 2008 NASCAR Camping World schedule, the half-mile Music City Motorplex oval in Nashville is one of the...
Johns Returns To NASCAR Camping World East Division Ranks This Weekend At Nashville
NASHVILLE, TN (July 14, 2008) -- Of all the tracks on the 2008 NASCAR Camping World schedule, the half-mile Music City Motorplex oval in Nashville is one of the toughest according to Sadler-Hamilton Racing driver Richard Johns.
"You really have to be on top of your game at Nashville," said Johns, who will wheel the No. 59 Sadler-Hamilton Dodge Charger in this Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Series East Division Strutmasters.com 150 at the famed Tennessee State Fairgrounds facility. "The track surface is really old and there are a lot of bumps and holes you have to avoid. The line changes there a lot, so you really have to pay attention as to where the track is fast at any given point of the race. Between racing the track and the competition, there are no breaksat Nashvilleat all. You really have to stay alert every second."
Johns is making his return to the Camping World Series after taking the past three events off to pursue his other NASCAR career as a Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series team engineer. In his most recent Camping World race on May 31, Johns was a victim ofseveral of the 15 caution flags that flew at South Boston (VA) Speedway - a race where he eventually finished 23rd.
"We sure weren't looking to take home a torn up race car," said Johns after the event. "I guess you'll get that at South Boston. One crash had more than half the field in it. Everybody that raced there got torn up to some degree. We just got it more than most."
Johns will be looking for a much better result when he takes the green flag Saturday at Nashville. The venerable fairgrounds track, one of America's oldest opening in 1904, is home for Johns' Nashville based Sadler-Hamilton team. To get prepared for this weekend's event, Johns and the team conducted a two-day test at the track recently.
"We tested at Nashville a couple of weeks ago and it was a struggle just to get some time on the track in because we were dodging weather the whole time," said Johns. "Eventually, we got a couple of hours in the first day. We took the car back to the shop and made some changes and that really picked it up the second day of the test. By the end of the test, we were pretty good. We definitely had a car that we could work with."
Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Strutmasters.com 150 will be the second time Johns has competed at the state fairgrounds raceway, a track that hosted NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) events from 1958 through 1984.
"I ran the American Speed Association race there last year," Johns stated. "I was testing an ARCA car at Nashville Superspeedway the same day and the driver we had qualifying my ASA car didn't make the show. That meant I had to run the last-chance race and fortunately, we won that to make the show. I still had to start the feature event at the back of the field, something like 29th or 30th. We were able to work our way up to 14th at the finish, the last car on the lead lap.
"That wasn't a bad day considering everything that happened," Johns continued. "We're obviously looking to do much better this time around.Winning at Nashville would be really something considering the history of the track and the fact that our team is based in Nashville. Realistically, we're hoping to run well, finish in the top-10 and bring the car home with all the fenders on it. If you can do that at a place as tough as Nashville, that's as good as a win."
Action at the Music City Motorplex in Nashville gets underway Saturday with two rounds of NASCAR Camping World practice beginning at Noon local time. Qualifying is set for 4:15 p.m. with the 150-lap main event taking the green flag at 7:30 p.m. The Camping World race will be preceded by a 125-lap NASCAR Whelen Late Model Division event at 5 p.m.