Lakeland, FL - Ricky Johnson, starting his second full season in the ASA ACDelco Series after capturing the 1999 ASA Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie-of-the-Year title, finished fourth in the season opener at USA International Speedway on Sunday.
Lakeland, FL - Ricky Johnson, starting his second full season in the ASA ACDelco Series after capturing the 1999 ASA Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie-of-the-Year title, finished fourth in the season opener at USA International Speedway on Sunday. Johnson accomplished the team's second goal for the weekend by placing in the top-five.
Johnson and team's first goal was qualifying in the top-10 out of the 48 entrants posting times. Johnson qualified his No. 22 Nationwide Auction Systems/AFCO Chevrolet Monte Carlo in eighth for the "BFGoodrich 200."
Johnson maintained a consistent run throughout the race. With a caution out around lap 81, Johnson brought the Herzog Motorsports entry in for a new set of tires and some fuel. The pit crew went to work and got Ricky out in first place after coming in fourth. "The crew did a great job today," Johnson said. "I picked up three positions in the pits alone and came out leading the race. Rollie (Christman, crew chief) made one tire adjustment when we pitted and it was the right call."
Johnson went on to lead 25 laps in the race before eventual winner Gary St. Amant passed him to lead the rest of the way. He slipped back to fourth where he would wind up, but not before trying to make some maneuvers to get around the third place car of Tim Sauter. "Just lack of experience," Johnson commented afterwards. "I need to learn how to get past cars I'm faster than. I could catch Sauter, but I didn't have the experience to work him out of my way."
"It was a close race for the top finishers," Johnson continues. "With the combination of the VORTEC 5700 and the BFGoodrich Radials, it shows the best man and crew is going to win. All three ahead (St. Amant, Kevin Cywinski, Tim Sauter) are champs (in the ASA Series). I'm honored to be part of the top group. This is a great way to start off a championship season."
Randy Herzog, co-owner of Herzog Motorsports, was delighted with Johnson's run. "Ricky did an excellent job driving out there today," Herzog said. "With a run like that, we're going to be a contender for the championship, which is what we're after. To finish behind three former champions after being crowned rookie last year is a big achievement for Ricky and the No. 22 Nationwide Auction Systems team. The team did a great job. They got Ricky out of the pits in a position where he could lead some laps. It was a pretty successful day."
Herzog Motorsports is a successful, championship-winning race team. Based in Los Angeles, California; St. Joseph, Missouri; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Herzog Motorsports will again field two teams in the 2000 ASA ACDelco Series.
The ASA ACDelco Series next hits Lanier National Speedway in Gainesville, GA on Saturday, April 8. The "Discount Auto Parts 300" starts at 9PM EST and is broadcast live on TNN Sports.