Johnson Adds Another ASCS Gulf South Win with Lofton Memorial Triumph HAUGHTON, La. (March 29, 2008) -- O'Reilly ASCoT National title contender Jason Johnson notched his second American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Region win of the season...
Johnson Adds Another ASCS Gulf South Win with Lofton Memorial Triumph
HAUGHTON, La. (March 29, 2008) -- O'Reilly ASCoT National title contender Jason Johnson notched his second American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Region win of the season by racing to victory lane in Saturday night's Inaugural Josh Lofton Memorial at Champion Park Speedway.
Working the top-side of the 0x00bc-mile clay oval, "The Ragin' Cajun" charged by Sam Hafertepe, Jr., on the eleventh round and led the rest of the way to collect the $2,000 winner's share in the 25-lapper aboard Marvin Pearson's Wesmar-powered Custom Equipment Design No. 11 Eagle.
"The top was good after we got it cleaned off, it just took a few laps to get it going," Johnson commented afterward.
While Johnson started the feature event outside the third row, it was front row outside starter Hafertepe outgunning polesitter Jerry Bell for the lead at the drop of the green flag with third-starter Channin Tankersley quickly moving into second.
With Hafertepe out front, Johnson was on the move early by picking off a pair of positions in the opening two rounds and then wrestling the third position away from Chris Sweeney just prior to the race's first caution flying for Travis Knighton, who spun to a stop in turn three with four laps in the books.
Setting the pace, Hafertepe worked the low side of the track as Tankersley and Johnson diced for second in his wake over the ensuing rounds. Johnson finally got the upper groove working to his liking to take over second by the tenth lap and then charged around Hafertepe for the lead exiting turn four the next time around.
Johnson weathered two more quick cautions in the next several laps, including the final one after 15 circuits when Brandon Corn nearly flipped in turn one after contact while battling for position among the top five, then drove away from the field to secure his fourth overall ASCS feature win of the season.
Hafertepe settled for runner-up honors in the G-H Plumbing No. 15 J&J, commenting that, "If we'd have gone to the top sooner, I think we could have had something for him. I just didn't have any way of knowing anybody was coming up there."
After starting the feature in 18th, rookie shoe Travis Elliott had cracked the top ten by the seventh lap, was up to fifth by the midway point and then battled his way into the show position by race's end.
Skip Wilson, the night's top earner in heat race passing points, climbed from seventh to fourth, while past series champion Gary Watson rebounded from a lap seven incident with Jerry Bell to round out the top five.
Tankersley crossed the stripe sixth, with Jimmy Brooks, Tommy Bryant, Ryan Hall and Billy Melton completing the top ten.
Wilson, Ray Allen Kulhanek and Greg Rilat each posted heat race wins. Kulhanek scratched from the feature event after incurring engine problems in his heat race victory drive.
Defending series champion Brandon Berryman suffered terminal engine problems in hot laps and scratched for the night.
American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Region Results:
Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 65-Skip Wilson, 2. 11-Jason Johnson, 3. 85-Jerry Bell, 4. 21T-Tommy Bryant, 5. 74-Brandon Corn, 6. 79h-Ryan Hall, 7. 15T-Travis Elliott, 8. 11m-Brandon Moseley.
Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 41-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 2. 71-Channin Tankersley, 3. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 4. 3-Gary Watson, 5. 20-Terry Monroe, 6. 79-Charlie McDonald, 7. 21-Blake Roberts.
Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 35-Greg Rilat, 2. 93-Chris Sweeney, 3. 51-Jimmy Brooks, 4. 87-Billy Melton, 5. X-Neil McCarl, 6. 61-Travis Knighton.JDNS: 31-Brandon Berryman.
"A" Feature (25 Laps): 1. 11-Jason Johnson, 2. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 3. 15T-Travis Elliott, 4. 65-Skip Wilson, 5. 3-Gary Watson, 6. 71-Channin Tankersley, 7. 51-Jimmy Brooks, 8. 21T-Tommy Bryant, 9. 79h-Ryan Hall, 10. 87-Billy Melton, 11. 93-Chris Sweeney, 12. X-Neil McCarl, 13. 35-Greg Rilat, 14. 20-Terry Monroe, 15. 11m-Brandon Moseley, 16. 79-Charlie McDonald, 17. 74-Brandon Corn, 18. 85-Jerry Bell, 19. 61-Travis Knighton, 20. 21-Blake Roberts. DNS: 41-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 31-Brandon Berryman.
ASCS Gulf South Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Jason Johnson 418, 2. Chris Sweeney 412, 3. (tie) Greg Rilat and Gary Watson 402, 5. Channin Tankersley 386, 6. Jimmy Brooks 357, 7. Brandon Corn 356, 8. Ray Allen Kulhanek 344, 9. Tommy Bryant 341, 10. Brandon Berryman 338.