Lady Luck Shines on Johnson in O'Reilly ASCoT Texarkana Go TEXARKANA, Ark. (April 27, 2007) -- Louisiana's Jason Johnson wasted little time cashing in on a friendly nod from Lady Luck to collect his first O'Reilly American Sprint Cars...
Lady Luck Shines on Johnson in O'Reilly ASCoT Texarkana Go
TEXARKANA, Ark. (April 27, 2007) -- Louisiana's Jason Johnson wasted little time cashing in on a friendly nod from Lady Luck to collect his first O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National feature win of the season with a triumph in Friday night's 30-lapper at Sixty-Seven Speedway.
While Johnson caught the lucky break, it was Darren Stewart on the receiving end of the bad luck as he was forced to surrender the point when his car mysteriously lost power under a late caution after leading the opening 21 circuits in an effort to score his first National win since June of 2005.
With Stewart sidelined, Johnson revved up his pursuit of a first $50,000 ASCoT National championship by setting sail aboard Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Motorsports/Custom Equipment Design No. 41 Eagle over the final nine laps, beating past National champs Tim Crawley, Wayne Johnson, Gary Wright and Travis Rilat to the checkered flag.
"It's nice to get this first one, it just took way too long," Johnson commented after becoming the series fifth different winner in nine feature events this year. "Darren had us covered though, maybe I could have got him in lapped traffic but on open track we didn't have anything for him."
Rilat and Stewart led the feature field to the green flag with Stewart edging into the early lead after the pair raced in wheel-to-wheel fashion the opening round. After starting fourth, Johnson battled past Rilat for second on the third round and set his sights on Stewart.
But Stewart held a lead of several car-lengths until Johnson was able to close when lapped traffic came into play after six laps. Stewart kept Johnson at bay, with the action interrupted after eight laps when Ronny Howard slid over the top of turn one.
Stewart reestablished an eight car-length lead as action resumed, only to have Johnson close in again when the leaders reached lapped traffic on the 13th round. Stewart made some swift moves though to maintain the lead aboard Bobby Sparks' Ostrich-powered Sparks Construction/RESM Transport No. 91 Eagle until the yellow flew on the 15th lap for Canada's Chris Schmelzle, who spun to a stop in turn two with front end damage.
It was more of the same on the ensuing restart, with Stewart holding strong in front of Johnson, Rilat and Crawley until the yellow lights flickered on the 22nd lap when seventh-runner Ray Allen Kulhanek and Kenneth Walker tangled in turn three. Kulhanek, a past ASCS Gulf South Region champion, was done for the night while Walker returned after a quick trip to the work area.
The caution period proved to be Stewart's undoing when his mount suddenly lost power in turn three as crews worked to separate the Kulhanek and Walker machines. "It just died, we're not sure what happened," Stewart explained afterward.The following restart was waved off when sixth-runner Sam Hafertepe, Jr., was turned around in turn two by Andy Shouse. Hafertepe earned an express ticket to the pit area for his retaliatory tactics under the caution.
Johnson led the way on the restart in front of Rilat and Crawley. With Johnson riding the rim, Rilat tried the low side to no avail as Crawley moved into second. Wayne Johnson and Wright would soon follow suit.
While Johnson approached the tail of the field in the final two circuits, Crawley tried to close the gap aboard the No. 87 Avenger Chassis entry but it was too little, too late, as Johnson collected his 20th career ASCS National win.
"We were starting to catch him there at the end, just ran out of time," Crawley commented after a runner-up showing in his first O'Reilly ASCoT outing of the year. Wayne Johnson climbed from 12th to take the show position in Mike Hammers' Wesmar-powered H&H Enterprises No. 94 Eagle, with Wright maintaining his series point lead by racing from tenth to fourth in the Wesmar-powered Richwood Construction/Whiteco Commercial Funding No. 9 Maxim.
Rilat slipped to fifth in the final rounds aboard the Motor Mike-powered F&J Construction No. 29 Triple-X, with Rookie of the Year contenders Andy Shouse and Foster Landon next across the line. Johnny Miller climbed from 15th eighth, with Terry Gray and 17th-starter Gavin Punch completing the top ten.
Hafertepe, Aaron Berryhill and Jason Johnson topped heat race action, with Punch winning the "B" Main.
O'Reilly ASCoT Sixty-Seven Speedway Results:
Heat Races (Top 16 in passing points to "A" Main; Balance to "B" Main)
Brodix Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 2. 91-Darren Stewart, 3. 10-Terry Gray, 4. 27-Andy Shouse, 5. 94-Wayne Johnson, 6. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 7. 1g-Cody Gardner, 8. 57g-Dude Garrett, 9. 65-Skip Wilson.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 97-Aaron Berryhill, 2. 2-Kenneth Walker, 3. 29-Travis Rilat, 4. 41k-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. 64J-Johnny Miller, 6. 44-Ronny Howard, 7. 75-Don Young, 8. 66-Kenny Taylor, 9. 13m-Kathryne Minter.
Brodix Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 11F-Foster Landon, 3. 87-Tim Crawley, 4. 9-Gary Wright, 5. 57c-Chris Schmelzle, 6. 81au-Gavin Punch, 7. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 8. 21-Nick Smith.
Pole Dash (Finishing Order Determines Front Three Rows of "A" Main):
Pole Dash (5 Laps): 1. 29-Travis Rilat, 2. 91-Darren Stewart, 3. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 4. 41-Jason Johnson, 5. 2-Kenneth Walker, 6. 97-Aaron Berryhill.
"B" Main -- Top 6 Advance to "A" Main
"B" Feature (10 Laps): 1. 81au-Gavin Punch, 2. 75-Don Young, 3. 21-Nick Smith, 4. 65-Skip Wilson, 5. 44-Ronny Howard, 6. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 7. 57g-Dude Garrett, 8. 66-Kenny Taylor, 9. 13m-Kathryne Minter, 10. 1g-Cody Gardner.
O'Reilly ASCoT Sixty-Seven Speedway "A" Main Event:
"A" Feature (30 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 87-Tim Crawley, 3. 94-Wayne Johnson, 4. 9-Gary Wright, 5. 29-Travis Rilat, 6. 27-Andy Shouse, 7. 11F-Foster Landon, 8. 64J-Johnny Miller, 9. 10-Terry Gray, 10. 81au-Gavin Punch, 11. 2-Kenneth Walker, 12. 75-Don Young, 13. 65-Skip Wilson, 14. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 15. 91-Darren Stewart, 16. 41k-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 17. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 18. 57c-Chris Schmelzle, 19. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 20. 21-Nick Smith, 21. 44-Ronny Howard, 22. 97-Aaron Berryhill.
Lap Leaders: Darren Stewart 1-21, Jason Johnson 22-30.
O'Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Gary Wright 1,019, 2. Wayne Johnson 972, 3. Travis Rilat 917, 4. Jason Johnson 909, 5. Darren Stewart 901, 6. Foster Landon 799, 7. Andy Shouse 766, 8. Johnny Miller 738, 9. Chris Schmelzle 666, 10. Aaron Berryhill 664, 11. Chuck Swenson 654, 12. Garry Lee Maier 632, 13. Nick Smith 576, 14. Danny Jennings 492, 15. Gavin Punch 467.