Johnson Wins Grand National Portion of Showdown
IRWINDALE, Calif. (Nov. 14, 2004) -- Mike Johnson's crew found the right set up at the right time and he won the Grand National portion of NASCAR's Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway.
Goodyear is the exclusive tire provider for the NASCAR Grand National Division, which includes both the NASCAR West Series and the NASCAR Busch North Series. The combination of left side and right side tires supplied for the Showdown was one used virtually all season by both series.
"We just missed the setup last night (for qualifying)," Johnson said. "I'm glad I missed it last night instead of tonight. Our tires were awesome. We had grip at the end of the race."
The race was a wild affair. Johnson did not lead the event until the first eight cars in the running order were inverted following a pre-planned 10-minute pit stop after 101 laps of the 150-lap race. Several of the top contenders were knocked out of competition by accidents.
"We didn't make any adjustments on the car during the stop," Johnson said. "The set up was close and we knew it was just a 50-lap shootout."
The Showdown brought together stars from around the NASCAR map. The Busch North Series competes on tracks located mostly in the Northeastern United States. The West Series competes at venues located all over the West. In addition to the Grand National Division race, teams from NASCAR's Elite Division series (the Southwest, Northwest, Midwest and Southeast series) competed in a 125-lap chase around Irwindale's half-mile oval.
"The tire performance was right where we expected it to be in competition," said Chad Fletcher, Goodyear marketing manager. "The teams were able to use the tires as they planned. The tires performed consistently from set to set."
Matt Kobyluck finished second after starting 26th, Joey McCarthy took third, Mike Olsen was fourth and Tim Woods III was fifth. Woods was the top finishing West Series regular.
"My car was a little tight," Kobyluck said. "It never got worse. The tires never gave up. It's the same tire combination we ran all year."
McCarthy said, "We were pretty happy with the tires. We could probably run them everywhere we go, except Dover."
Bobby Dragon led the second five, followed by Mike Duncan, Kelly Moore, Brian Hoar and Bryon Chew.
"Goodyear is proud to be associated with the Grand National Division," Fletcher said. "Our relationship with the teams has been fruitful for the last two years because of the consistency of the tires we have provided."
The three-day event included a pair of 50-lap qualifying races. The race was stopped after lap 102 for the pre-planned pit stop, which made it a two-session race. Fletcher said the teams treated it as a three-session event, including the qualifying races.
"The teams used three different approaches to the three sessions and the Goodyear Eagles were effective every time," Fletcher said.