USAR: Lakeland: Daniel Johnson race report

Disappointing Weekend For Johnson Motorsports In Lakeland "Team Down But Not Out In Uncharacteristic Run" LAKELAND, Fla (March 12, 2007) - - When it's not your weekend, it's not your weekend. That statement clearly sums up the disappointing ...

Disappointing Weekend For Johnson Motorsports In Lakeland
"Team Down But Not Out In Uncharacteristic Run"

LAKELAND, Fla (March 12, 2007) - - When it's not your weekend, it's not your weekend. That statement clearly sums up the disappointing weekend for Daniel Johnson and his Johnson Motorsports team following a sour run in the 2007 USAR Hooter's Pro Cup Southern Division season opener from USA International Speedway Saturday night.

Tackling a new car supplied by race partner Shotime Motorsports poised power steering and brake issues from the start immediately putting the team behind the eight ball losing crucial practice time Friday evening.

With limited practice on Friday, the team planned to utilize the two-hour final practice session on Saturday to dial the No. 3 Charlotte Check Cashers-Brandon Ford machine in preparation for qualifying.

From the start of the session to the conclusion, the team was happy with the changes and performances of the Ford Taurus. Despite still managing brake issues, Johnson posted competitive laps leaving optimism for qualifying.

"The adjustments we made should help us in qualifying and the race," said Johnson, a native of North Carolina. "It's been a hectic start to our 2007 season, but hopefully things will look brighter for the rest of the weekend."

In qualifications, Johnson maneuvered his automobile around the 0x00be mile track with a quick time of 22.047 seconds at 122.466 MPH putting him 37th on the charts. With only the top-32 locked into the field on time, Johnson relied on his 2001 USAR Rookie-of-the-Year title to gain him a berth into the event, lining him shotgun on the field in 37th in the strongest USAR field in Lakeland history.

"We picked up seven tenths from practice, that's huge for us," stated Johnson. "I think we have a car to work with we just need a little luck to finish the race. It hasn't been a normal weekend for us, but we've overcome the adversity and we're ready to go."

The green flag waived shortly after 7:30 PM Eastern Time with the successful entrepreneur quickly gaining spots and soaring through the pack.

It appeared that Johnson had a racecar capable of running to the front and being a contender for a top-10 finish, but those hopes were quickly halted when the engine expired on lap eight forcing Johnson to bring his car to the garage and calling it an early evening.

"This is very disappointing for my team and sponsors," said a dejected Johnson. "We had a solid race car. Something we could work with the entire race. I was just bidding my time and trying to be smart early. I went down the backstretch and it blew."

Johnson continued, "If I said I wasn't frustrated, I would be lying," he spoke. "I have a great team surrounded by great sponsors, but this isn't the way we planned to start our 2007 season. For some reason, the first race at Lakeland has bitten us one way or the other, I don't know why. However, I'm proud of my team for overcoming the hiccups we had at the beginning of the weekend. We can have one bad race and still have a shot at the championship, our season starts at South Georgia Motorsports Park on March 31."

-credit: jm

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