Phone Call Changes Johns' Weekend Plans; Late Model Race Put On Hold To Make NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Debut At Talladega Saturday Mooresville, NC (September 30, 2008) -- One thing you can be sure about racing is you never know when ...
Phone Call Changes Johns' Weekend Plans; Late Model Race Put On Hold To Make NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Debut At Talladega Saturday
Mooresville, NC (September 30, 2008) -- One thing you can be sure about racing is you never know when opportunityis going to strike. Just ask Richard Johns.
On Monday, Johns was preparing to run a late model stock car at Peach State Speedway this weekend when opportunity came knocking in the form of a ride in the No. 89 Lafferty Performance NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry this Saturday at Talladega.
"It was great to get the call from Chris," said Johns (right) of his conversation with team owner Chris Lafferty. "I was all set to run in the Truck Series full time this year when the funding fell apart the day before the Daytona test last January. It was pretty crushing at the time and each time I see a Truck Series race on television this year, I feel like I should be there. Now, I'm finally going to get the chance."
While Saturday's Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega will be Johns' first-ever NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career start, it won't be his first time racing at the massive 2.66-mile Alabama oval.
"I raced at Talladega in the ARCA event last fall," said Johns, who finished fourth in the event behind the wheel of a Roulo Brothers entry. "We had a great race and I learned a lot about the draft, finding out when and where to pass. I know that experience is going to help me when I go there in a Truck this weekend."
Johns -- who made 15 NASCAR Nationwide starts in the No. 25 Team Rensi entry (below) in 2007 - also has some experience racing a truck as the former champion go kart racer got some of his first-ever big vehicle laps competing in the Southern All-Stars Truck Series. Ironically, his first major win in a truck also came at an Alabama speedway.
"Birmingham Speedway is just up Interstate 20 from Talladega, but that track light years from what we'll be racing on this weekend," chuckled Johns. "There's no comparison between competing at Birmingham in a Southern All-Stars truck and racing a Craftsman Truck at Talladega. Birmingham Speedway isn't ever going to be mistaken for Talladega. Still, I guess it is kind of fun to say I've raced a truck and won in Alabama."
As for his chances this weekend, Johns - who also works as a NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series team engineer - holds no illusions about what he hopes to accomplish in his initial career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series effort.
"We're going there to do the best we can, period," said Johns. "Chris has a part-time team and has run three races this season. It would be unrealistic to think we could win or even finish in the Top-10. That said, I know we have a good truck. Chris originally purchased it from MRD Motorsports (Chad McCumbee's team) and it was their back-up at Daytona this year. We're going to make it as good as we possibly can in practice and then do our best to race hard and stay out of trouble in Saturday's race. For me, it's all about running good, making a good impression for the team, and proving to people that I should have been here all season. If we can do that, it will be all worth it no matter where we finish."
Johns and his No. 89 Lafferty Performance Chevrolet Silverado will take the green flag in Saturday's Mountain Dew 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Talladega at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. The event will be telecast live on SPEED.