Junior Johnson Wins ProSolo National Championship TOPEKA, Kan. (Sept. 22, 2007) -- Mike "Junior" Johnson, of Glen Allen, Va., captured his first ProSolo victory when it mattered the most, at the 2007 Tire RackÂ® SCCA ProSolo National ...
Junior Johnson Wins ProSolo National Championship
TOPEKA, Kan. (Sept. 22, 2007) -- Mike "Junior" Johnson, of Glen Allen, Va., captured his first ProSolo victory when it mattered the most, at the 2007 Tire Rack® SCCA ProSolo National Championship at Heartland Park Topeka.
Piloting the Evolution Driving School Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Johnson capped off his best ProSolo season ever by edging out E Stock runner-up Paul Brown, of Los Almos, N.M., in the Hawk Super Challenge. Although Brown clipped a cone on his second run in a Toyota MR2, Johnson's pace could not be matched.
"I had a couple top qualifiers this year, but this was my best Challenge ever and my best year in ProSolo," Johnson said.
"I've got to thank Sam Strano from Strano Performance Parts and Evolution Driving School. Being an instructor and getting into a lot of different cars throughout the year, I've been able to get used to driving everything."
Johnson breezed into the Hawk Super Challenge by winning A Street Prepared by 0.801-second, preventing any other ASP competitors from earning a spot in the Challenge.
"Yesterday I put myself behind the eight ball quite a bit on my first runs," Johnson added. "I had four dirty runs. I knew I had the time, but I had a hard time today hooking up at the line on the left side, so I wasn't able to get the number I would have liked to. I felt pretty good about my class performance, but a Challenge is a whole different thing; you're dealing with the best drivers from the whole weekend, so it's much harder. The Challenges are just as much about luck as skill."
Ian Baker, of Herndon, Va., and Joe Tharpe, of Marshalltown, Iowa, faced off in the Honda Tuner Challenge. Baker came in as the top qualifier in his Koni/Stranoparts.com Honda CRX, but the Street Touring® 2 class winner red lighted the start of his first run, handing the Honda Hot Shoe Award and bonus $1000 to Tharpe and his A Stock Honda S2000.
Ladies Class 1 winner Jennifer Merideth, of Westland, Mich., and Ladies Class 2 winner Christine Berry, of Alta Loma, Calif., lined up for the final round of the Ladies Challenge. Rising from the ranks of Formula Junior a decade ago, Berry piloted her Mitsubishi Evolution to victory over the Ford Mustang of Merideth.
Ian Baker, of Orlando, Fla., lost some ground on the rest of the field in Super Stock, but still won the class by an impressive 0.783-second. Competing in the largest class of the event, Stewart used his Maitlandimports.com Porsche 911 GT3 to beat out some ProSolo heaving hitters including Gary Thomason, Tom Kotzian, Pat Salerno and Kevin Dietz.
Topeka driver Ron Williams continued to defend his turf on day two and captured the G Stock win. Driving a MiniUSA/Hoosier Tires Mini Cooper S, Williams beat out former champ G.H. Sharp, of Kernersville, N.C., in another Mini Cooper S by 0.043-second.
Nathan Whipple, of Marlborough, Mass., surprised the Street Touring S class by opening up his day one lead even further to take the class victory by 0.278-second in his Rally Decals Honda Civic. Whipple's win margin eliminated the chance for his fellow STS competitors to compete in the Hawk Super Challenge, including Solo ace Andy Hollis, of Austin, Texas.
Keith Brown, of Des Moines, Wash., also prevented some formidable Soloists from competing in the Hawk Super Challenge when he won the large Prepared Index class in his ChaseRace/K&K Racing/Jim's Detail Shop Mazda Miata. Tracy Ramsey, Lloyd Wilson, Richard Beecher and David Newman were all sent packing after Prepared Index competition.
On a historical note, the Ford Focus earned its first-ever Solo Championship at the hands of Lorin Mueller, of Newark, Calif., who won the F Street Prepared Class by 0.975-second over the Honda Civic of Jinx Jordan, from Terrell, N.C.
With that, the 2007 Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo season came to an end. Class and challenge winners will be honored at an awards banquet on Sunday night. Many competitors won't be packing it up quite yet though, as the Solo National Championships are set to begin on Tuesday, September 25.
For full results for the ProSolo National Championship, visit www.scca.com.