Jason Johnson Wins Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals Prelim; Puts Virtual Lock on O'Reilly ASCoT Championship! MESQUITE, Texas (October 17, 2008) -- Jason Johnson opened up his defense of a 2007 Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals sweep by outdueling...
Jason Johnson Wins Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals Prelim; Puts Virtual Lock on O'Reilly ASCoT Championship!
MESQUITE, Texas (October 17, 2008) -- Jason Johnson opened up his defense of a 2007 Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals sweep by outdueling Kevin Ramey to win Friday night's 20-lap preliminary feature at the 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals.
And, more important than his 11th ASCS National Tour triumph of the year and 17th overall ASCS feature win of 2008, "The Ragin' Cajun" put a virtual lock on his first O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National championship, worth a hefty $50,000.
Johnson's triumph coupled with a twelfth-place finish by Gary Wright allowed Johnson to escape the night with a 117-point advantage in the championship race. By simply starting Saturday's feature (which he's locked into) and taking a green flag during both his preliminary night and the final night of next weekend's Short Track Nationals at I-30 Speedway, Johnson can accumulate enough points to keep his rivals at bay and take the crown.
Johnson had his work cut out for him on Friday night though, as he fought off Ramey for the preliminary win with O'Reilly ASCoT rookie contenders Kenneth Walker and Gary Taylor taking the third and fourth lock-in positions to Saturday night's $5,000 to win Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals finale.
"I had to protect the bottom of the track, I didn't want to go up top and give another one away like we did last weekend," Johnson commented from victory lane. "Kevin (Ramey) got alongside a couple of times and tried to take it away. That was some good, hard racing; he wanted to win it as bad as us."
Johnson caught his first break of the feature event at the outset. While he gridded Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Motorsports/Custom Equipment Design No. 41 Eagle on the pole position, it was Ramey lined up to his outside shoulder.
And, on the initial attempt to start the race, Ramey surged into the lead down the backstretch after the duo raced wheel-to-wheel through the opening pair of corners. But, when second-row starter Martin Edwards sailed off the top of turns three and four, the start was negated.
Johnson took full advantage of the restart, motoring into the lead off of turn two with Ramey in tow.
After three laps, the Johnson-Ramey pace up front was interrupted for the only time when Tim Shaffer spun to a stop in turn one with front end damage aboard the Sparks No. 91, with C.J. Johnson tumbling through turn two in Ethanol No. 85 at the same time.
Back under way, Johnson and Ramey set sail, leaving Gary Taylor to fend off Kenneth Walker for third.
Reaching a lapped car by the midway point, Ramey soon moved in on Johnson's tail tank. Ramey then pulled alongside on the low side entering turn three on the 13th round, only to have Johnson successfully close the door.
With another pair of lapped cars in the mix soon after, Ramey again pulled to Johnson's inside exiting turn four on the 16th lap as he made a bid for his first ASCS win of the 2008 season. Johnson got the run off the corner to maintain the lead however, and, after disposing of a lapped car with two laps to go, slipped away to secure his 39th career ASCS National Tour triumph.
While Ramey settled for second in the City Vending No. 7m, Walker made a move around Taylor by the tenth round to claim the show position and held the Wesmar-powered Action Auto Collision No. 2 J&J in third the rest of the way.
Taylor took the fourth and final lock-in position aboard Mike and Megan Eubanks' Wesmar-powered Tel-Star Communications No. 5* Triple-X, with Zach Chappell rounding out the top five in the Legend's Bar-B-Que & Steak Joint No. 50z Maxim.
Garry Lee Maier crossed the stripe sixth in his 300th career ASCS National Tour feature start, with Travis Rilat climbing from 14th to finish seventh. Joe Wood, Jr., was eighth, with Wayne Johnson and Eric Baldaccini completing the top ten.
Taylor, Ramey, Edwards, Walker and Brian Brown topped heat race action for the 41-car field, with Kenny Adams and Kolt Walker winning the twin "B" Mains.
Kathryne Minter got over the turn two embankment and flipped in the second heat race, with Charlie Brown, Aaron Berryhill and Steven Richardson all flipping in a turn one tangle in the fifth heat. Minter returned and utilized a provisional for the main event, while the other three were done for the night.
O'Reilly ASCoT 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals Results:
Heat Races (Top 16 in Passing Points to "A" Main; Balance to 2 "B" Mains):
Brodix Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 5*-Gary Taylor, 2. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 3. 7k-Justin Zimmerman, 4. 29-Travis Rilat, 5. 3d-Rickey Hood, 6. 10-Kenny Adams, 7. 25-Robert Sellers, 8. 4J-Lee Grosz, 9. 93-Dustin Morgan.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 2. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 3. 50z-Zach Chappell, 4. 14e-Todd Evans, 5. 91-Tim Shaffer, 6. 14-Michael Lang, 7. 1s-Trey Robb, 8. 69h-Larry Howery.
Brodix Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 45-Martin Edwards, 2. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 3. 45k-Kolt Walker, 4. 53-Jack Dover, 5. 61J-Danny Jennings, 6. 9-Gary Wright, 7. 94s-Natalie Sather, 8. 13-Kathryne Minter.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 2-Kenneth Walker, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 94-Wayne Johnson, 4. e85-C.J. Johnson, 5. 29L-Larry Long, 6. 71-R.J. Johnson, 7. 99-Brady Bacon, 8. 15s-Nick Smith.
Heat Five (8 Laps): 1. 21-Brian Brown, 2. 29n-Larry Neighbors, 3. 85-Jerry Bell, 4. 1x-Don Droud, Jr., 5. 22-Koby Barksdale, 6. 72x-Charlie Brown, 7. 97-Aaron Berryhill, 8. 72-Steven Richardson.
"B" Mains (Top 3 From Each Advance to "A" Main):
First "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 10-Kenny Adams, 2. 85-Jerry Bell, 3. 91-Tim Shaffer, 4. 1s-Trey Robb, 5. 14-Michael Lang, 6. 93-Dustin Morgan, 7. 1x-Don Droud, Jr., 8. 29L-Larry Long, 9. 22-Koby Barksdale, 10. 69h-Larry Howery, 11. 94s-Natalie Sather. DNS: 97-Aaron Berryhill, 15s-Nick Smith.
Second "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 45k-Kolt Walker, 2. 3d-Rickey Hood, 3. 9-Gary Wright, 4. 71-R.J. Johnson, 5. 25-Robert Sellers, 6. 4J-Lee Grosz, 7. 13-Kathryne Minter, 8. 14e-Todd Evans, 9. 99-Brady Bacon, 10. 61J-Danny Jennings. DNS: 72x-Charlie Brown, 72-Steven Richardson.
O'Reilly ASCoT 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals Preliminary "A" Main Event:
"A" Feature (20 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 3. 2-Kenneth Walker, 4. 5*-Gary Taylor, 5. 50z-Zach Chappell, 6. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 7. 29-Travis Rilat, 8. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 9. 94-Wayne Johnson, 10. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 11. 53-Jack Dover, 12. 9-Gary Wright, 13. 3d-Rickey Hood, 14. 45k-Kolt Walker, 15. 7k-Justin Zimmerman, 16. 13-Kathryne Minter, 17. 10-Kenny Adams, 18. 45-Martin Edwards, 19. 29n-Larry Neighbors, 20. 21-Brian Brown, 21. 85-Jerry Bell, 22. e85-C.J. Johnson, 23. 91-Tim Shaffer, 24. 15s-Nick Smith.
Lap Leaders: Jason Johnson 1-20.
Note: Nick Smith and Kathryne Minter utilized ASCoT provisionals to start the "A" Main.
O'Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Jason Johnson 3,697, 2. Gary Wright 3,580, 3. Wayne Johnson 3,531, 4. Zach Chappell 3,481, 5. Garry Lee Maier 3,215, 6. Eric Baldaccini 3,055, 7. Nick Smith 2,933, 8. Kenneth Walker 2,730, 9. Travis Rilat 2,665, 10. Gary Taylor 2,489, 11. Kathryne Minter 2,235, 12. Jack Dover 2,145, 13. Matt Covington 1,729, 14. Brian Brown 1,435, 15. Aaron Berryhill 1,399.