ES: South Boston: Richard Johns race notes

Johns, Freedom Is Not Free Dodge Pinball Their Way To 23rd-Place Finish NASCAR Camping World South Boston Wreckfest South Boston, VA (June 2, 2008) - There were 15 caution periods totaling 77 of the 150 laps of the Strutmasters.com 150 NASCAR...

Johns, Freedom Is Not Free Dodge Pinball Their Way To 23rd-Place Finish NASCAR Camping World South Boston Wreckfest

South Boston, VA (June 2, 2008) - There were 15 caution periods totaling 77 of the 150 laps of the Strutmasters.com 150 NASCAR Camping World Series East Division race Saturday at South Boston Speedway.

For Richard Johns, it felt like he was in the middle of all of them.

"We were definitely around most of them," said Johns, who finished 23rd in the event. "It was almost like you were in a pinball machine. We were getting bounced around quite a bit. I did my best to miss the wrecks, check up and not run into to them. I was able to do that most of the time, but not all of the time."

Johns and his No. 59 Freedom Is Not Free Dodge started out the day on the right foot posting the 13th-fastest practice time turning in a 16.309-second clocking (88.299 miles per hour average) on the tight four-tenths-mile South Boston Speedway oval during practice.

The 26-year old Cornelius, NC driver then timed in 21st in the highly competitive 32-car starting field. At the drop of the green, it didn't take Johns long to find trouble sustaining rear body damage in a bump up with the car of Jonathan Smith in the first 10 laps.

Johns kept digging in toward the front after the no caution flag incident only to find trouble again as he was pinched into the Turn 1 inside wall by another competitor on Lap 32. Now running with damage to both sides of his Sadler-Hamilton Racing entry, Johns found even bigger trouble when Richard Gould spun directly in front of him as they raced into Turn 1. Johns made heavy contact with Gould and another car swept up into the incident severely damaging the right front suspension of his Dodge Charger,

"I saw Gould get into the back of the car in front of him," said Johns. "I tried to go in low to miss him. I just had nowhere to go. I went over his left front with my right and beat the heck out of the front end of my car. We were pretty much along for the ride after that."

Despite the heavy damage, Johns' Sadler-Hamilton crew was able to repair the damage good enough for him to return to the race shortly after it was red-flagged for a 16-car crash in Turn 3.

â^a--I really didn't run the car as hard as I might have at the end of the race," Johns stated. "The car was really set over on the right front. It was extremely difficult to drive after the wreck. I swear you had to turn the wheel 360-degrees to get the car around the corner. At least it was rolling and we finished the race."

At the checkered flag, Johns was officially credited with 23rd-position in the final running order completing 146 of the 155 laps contested. He won $900 for his efforts.

"We were really hoping for a good finish here," said Johns. "We sure weren't looking to take home a torn up race car. I guess you'll get that at South Boston. One crash tonight had more than half the field in it. Everybody that raced here tonight got torn up to some degree. We just got it more than most."

-credit: rjr

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Richard Johns , Jonathan Smith