Cajun Keeps Cookin' with O'Reilly ASCoT Triumph at I-30 LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 29, 2006) -- The scorching triple-digit temperatures of mid-summer still can't compare to the hot streak that Jason Johnson is enjoying in 2006, as the...
Cajun Keeps Cookin' with O'Reilly ASCoT Triumph at I-30
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 29, 2006) -- The scorching triple-digit temperatures of mid-summer still can't compare to the hot streak that Jason Johnson is enjoying in 2006, as the "Ragin' Cajun" charged to his eighth O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National win of the season in Saturday night's 30-lap feature at I-30 Speedway.
Nick Smith and Johnny Miller were within striking distance in the early stages before Johnson checked out in lapped traffic and went on to post his 15th overall ASCS feature win of the year in 31 starts.
In the process, Johnson closed to within a mere 34 points of two-time and defending series champion Gary Wright in the $50,000 championship points race, with next weekend's Knoxville 360 Nationals next on the agenda.
Johnson earned the pole position for the feature and outgunned fellow front row starter Miller for the early lead, with fourth-starter Smith racing into second on the opening round. Lapped traffic came into play after just a handful of laps on the high-banked, 0x00bc-mile clay oval, with Smith closing in on Johnson until jumping the cushion in turn four on the tenth lap, allowing Miller to race back into second.
Johnson slipped away from his chasers over the ensuing laps as he navigated lapped traffic masterfully until the caution flew with 18 laps in the books for Joe Young's turn four spin, negating 18th-starter Tim Crawley's pass of Smith for third.
Back under way, Johnson raced to the stripe undeterred despite encountering heavy lapped traffic once again in the final handful of laps. Johnson took the checkered flag aboard Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Diesel Service No. 41 Eagle with three lapped cars between himself and Smith, who regained second with just five laps to go in the Ostrich-powered MPHG Promotions No. 15s J&J.
Crawley, who sliced through the field in dazzling fashion from the ninth row, took the show position in the final laps in the Avenger Chassis No. 87, with Miller settling for fourth in Jamie Downing's Fort Worth Lumber No. 64J Maxim. After nearly flipping in the opening corner, Wright recovered and charged through the field from his original 17th starting slot to round out the top five in the Wesmar-powered Southwest Express/The Shop/Richwood Construction No. 9 Maxim.
After being collected in an opening lap tangle, Jesse Hockett raced from the tail of the field to snare sixth, with Justin Sturch settling for seventh after running amongst the top five much of the way. Mike Ward raced from 16th to eighth, with Ray Allen Kulhanek and Sean McClelland completing the top ten.
Miller, Smith and Johnson topped heat race action, with Wright winning the 12-lap "B" Main. Brian Bell flipped in the evening's third heat race. Bell walked away uninjured but was done for the night.
Darren Stewart flipped wildly in turn two when his rear axle snapped while running second in the Pole Dash. Major repairs were made in time for Stewart to make the call for the feature, in which he retired pitside after the initial green flag.
Travis Rilat battled mechanical woes all night and utilized a provisional starting position for the "A" Main. With the problems not yet corrected, Rilat retired early as well.
O'Reilly ASCoT Results:
Heat Races (Top 16 in passing points to "A" Main -- Top 6 to Pole Dash; balance to "B" Main)
Brodix Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 64J-Johnny Miller, 2. 91-Darren Stewart, 3. 12T-Joe Young, 4. 38-Rick Pringle, 5. 94-Jerrod Hull, 6. 0-Wade Oliver, 7. 44J-Abe Sherwood, 8. 12-Trey Robb, 9. 92-Rusty Gallion.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 15s-Nick Smith, 2. 8-Zach Pringle, 3. 1g-Cody Gardner, 4. 41k-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. 60-Eric Sandage, 6. 88-Mike Ward, 7. 2m-Bryce Vowan, 8. 16-Dewayne Prince, 9. 10-Richard Herring.
Brodix Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 4T-Justin Sturch, 3. 75-Jesse Hockett, 4. 22J-Jasiel Randolph, 5. 1-Sean McClelland, 6. 9-Gary Wright, 7. 87-Tim Crawley, 8. 29-Travis Rilat, 9. 23-Brian Bell.
Pole Dash (Finishing Order Determines Front Three Rows of "A" Main):
Pole Dash (5 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 64J-Johnny Miller, 3. 4T-Justin Sturch, 4. 15s-Nick Smith, 5. 8-Zach Pringle, 6. 91-Darren Stewart.
"B" Main -- Top 6 Advance to "A" Main
"B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 9-Gary Wright, 2. 87-Tim Crawley, 3. 0-Wade Oliver, 4. 44J-Abe Sherwood, 5. 2m-Bryce Vowan, 6. 12-Trey Robb, 7. 10-Richard Herring, 8. 16-Dewayne Prince, 9. 92-Rusty Gallion, 10. 29-Travis Rilat. DNS: 23-Brian Bell.
O'Reilly ASCoT "A" Main Event:
"A" Feature (30 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 15s-Nick Smith, 3. 87-Tim Crawley, 4. 64J-Johnny Miller, 5. 9-Gary Wright, 6. 75-Jesse Hockett, 7. 4T-Justin Sturch, 8. 88-Mike Ward, 9. 41k-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 10. 1-Sean McClelland, 11. 1g-Cody Gardner, 12. 94-Jerrod Hull, 13. 12-Trey Robb, 14. 8-Zach Pringle, 15. 2m-Bryce Vowan, 16. 60-Eric Sandage, 17. 38-Rick Pringle, 18. 44J-Abe Sherwood, 19. 22J-Jasiel Randolph, 20. 12T-Joe Young, 21. 0-Wade Oliver, 22. 29-Travis Rilat, 23. 91-Darren Stewart.
Lap Leaders: Jason Johnson 1-30.
Note: Travis Rilat utilized a provisional for the "A' Main.
O'Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Gary Wright 2,748, 2. Jason Johnson 2,714, 3. (tie) Jesse Hockett and Nick Smith 2,663, 5. Travis Rilat 2,614, 6. Sean McClelland 2,452, 7. Darren Stewart 2,308, 8. Trey Robb 2,281, 9. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 2,148, 10. Tony Bruce, Jr. 2,100, 11. Jan Howard 1,940, 12. Abe Sherwood 1,862, 13. Zach Chappell 1,740, 14. Jerrod Hull 1,340, 15. Kevin Ramey 1,263.