Jarit Johnson Performs at Michigan Speedway despite Bad Luck Brooklyn, Mich. -- (Aug. 19, 2005) In his first-ever ARCA RE/MAX Series event and his first race at Michigan Speedway, Jarit Johnson qualified 16th out of 54-cars piloting the No....
Jarit Johnson Performs at Michigan Speedway despite Bad Luck
Brooklyn, Mich. -- (Aug. 19, 2005) In his first-ever ARCA RE/MAX Series event and his first race at Michigan Speedway, Jarit Johnson qualified 16th out of 54-cars piloting the No. 5 Levi Strauss Signature Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Johnson had to retire early due to an incident he had no control of, which left him with a finishing position of 35th for the Hantz Group 200 held on Friday Aug. 19th.
He had a great start to the race and quickly moved up four spots to 12th place in just under 30 laps. He spent much of those 30 laps behind the defending ARCA Series champion, Frank Kimmel, trying to learn just how to maneuver in traffic and learn how the Levi Strauss Signature Chevy would perform in different situations.
Johnson reported that the race car was very strong and felt that towards the later stages of the race, when he felt more comfortable and he got a feel for both the track and race car, he could get a little more "racier" and try to make his move to advance up front.
His crew chief, Gerhart, made a call for a pit stop during an early race caution. The Levi Strauss Signature crew made a solid pit stop changing four tires and adding fuel in a respectable time. Due to the pit cycle, he had to restart towards the rear of the field.
Johnson worked his way up thru the field when two other cars collided in front of him. He attempted some evasive moves to avoid the spinning cars, but one car unexpectedly shot up the track leaving Johnson with no where to go.
"I went low and then the other car shot down low so I went high and he shot back up the track. I just had nowhere to go," said Johnson. "Bobby Gerhart and my crew guys gave me a great car. I was just out there learning as much as I could and really started to get a feel for everything. I felt like we were putting ourselves in a good position to post a top five or top 10 finish today, which would have been fantastic for my first race in this series. We hate for this to happen to us, especially since I was getting some valuable experience out there, but that's how racing goes sometimes."
His car made hard contact leaving heavy damage, which was un-repairable before the end of the race. Johnson received praise from his team and other competitors for having a successful first-ever run despite the bad luck.
"Jarit drove smooth as silk," said Bobby Gerhart. "He did a heck of a job for someone who's never raced or tested here and has very limited time in these cars. I'm impressed with his mentality coming into this race. He wasn't intimidated by the size or speed of the track and he's spent a lot time asking questions and learning, which is what you need to do to be successful."
"I am so grateful for this opportunity with Levi Strauss Signature and everyone who made it possible for me to race today. And I just hate it that we didn't get through this race for them," said Johnson. "There is nothing worse than bringing your crew guys a torn up race car. But this was a great experience for me and I'm looking forward to getting into the Levi's Strauss Signature Craftsman Truck in Richmond to continue where we left off."