Johnson Nets ASCS Speedweek Three-Peat with Last Corner Pass SAPULPA, Okla. (July 9, 2006) -- Louisiana's Jason Johnson only led about ten feet of Sunday night's 30-lap O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour feature event at Creek County ...
Johnson Nets ASCS Speedweek Three-Peat with Last Corner Pass
SAPULPA, Okla. (July 9, 2006) -- Louisiana's Jason Johnson only led about ten feet of Sunday night's 30-lap O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour feature event at Creek County Speedway, but it was the ten feet that mattered the most as he nipped race-long leader Darren Stewart at the checkered flag to snare his third victory in as many rounds of the 14th Annual COMP Cams ASCS Sizzlin' Summer Speedweek.
Johnson survived a mid-race scrape with Travis Rilat, then following a late restart took quick advantage when Stewart's balky motor finally gave way in the final few feet after smoking heavily over the last half of the event.
"Darren pretty well had us covered tonight until his motor started going bad," Johnson commented after becoming the first driver in ASCS Speedweek history to record three consecutive wins. "I about lost the race in three and four on the white flag lap, but I was in 'win it or wear it' mode by that time and we were able to get the win."
Stewart gunned into the lead at the drop of the green flag from the pole position and paced the early rounds in front of outside front row starter Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Jerrod Hull, Rilat, Johnson and Roger Crockett.
Lapped traffic came into play in short order on the tight 0x00bc-mile oval, with Stewart encountering the first of the backmarkers by the sixth lap. Stewart worked his way through traffic diligently aboard the Ostrich-powered Sparks Construction/RESM Transport No. 91 Eagle, while Hull and a surging Crockett relegated Hafertepe to fourth by the twelfth circuit.
The caution flew a lap later when Rilat came to a stop in turn four with a cut right rear tire after contact with Johnson while dicing for fifth position in heavy lapped traffic off turn two. Johnson continued with nose wing damage, gaining a position on the ensuing restart when Hafertepe got into Dex Eaton's lapped car entering turn one and flipped. Hafertepe was uninjured but done for the night.
After Sherman Davis and Jesse Hockett tangled in turn two the next time around, current O'Reilly ASCoT point leader Nick Smith looped his mount in turn four on the restart and surrendered fifth position. Sixth-runner Jan Howard clipped Smith and dumped his mount on its side, with Rafe Essary and J.P. Bailey spinning to miss the tangle. Howard retired for the night, with the others rejoining the chase at the tail.
Back under way, Stewart continued to pace the field with Hull, Crockett and Johnson in tow. But by the 20th round, ominous smoke began emanating from Stewart's mount. Stewart kept up the pace however, holding a six car-length lead until approaching lapped traffic in the final handful of laps.
With heavy smoke ultimately billowing from Stewart's machine, Hull, Crockett and Johnson closed the gap, with a scintillating four-car battle for the lead developing. Johnson finally picked off the third position on the 26th round when Crockett got pinned behind a lapped car while charging down the backstretch.
Hull pulled even with Stewart on the 27th lap, but Stewart fought off the bid as he pursued his first ASCS National Tour triumph of the season. With Stewart running the low line, Hull kept the pressure on by using the top side until the 29th lap when he was unable to avoid Bailey's spinning machine in turn three and flipped. Hull exited to the pit area under the ensuing caution with minor damage.
Set for a two-lap dash to the checkered flag, Stewart did everything in his power to nurse the familiar Sparks machine to the finish line. Johnson challenged on the high side and nearly slipped into the wall exiting turn four on the white flag lap, allowing Stewart to slip away by several car-lengths. But with the checkered flag in sight a lap later, Stewart's sprinter stumbled down the frontstretch with Johnson charging by on the high side to sneak into victory lane by the narrowest of margins in Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Diesel Service/Custom Equipment Design No. 41 Eagle.
Crockett settled for a close third, finishing just behind the lead pair in Paul Silva's Wesmar-powered ProBilt Construction No. 57. Gary Wright gained some valuable ground in the championship points chase by charging from 13th to fourth in the Wesmar-powered Southwest Express No. 9 Maxim, with Cody Branchcomb racing from 15th to round out the top five Wells-powered Tel-Star Communications No. 94.
Zach Chappell raced from 17th to sixth, with 18th-starter Skip Wilson, 23rd-starter Sean McClelland, Rilat and 20th-starter Trey Robb completing the top ten.
Smith's point lead took a hit as he could only muster a 14th-place finish after his mid-race spin.
Hafertepe, Hull, Crockett, Johnson and Stewart topped heat race action for the 41-car field, with Chappell and Wilson winning the twin "B" Mains. Jasiel Randolph jumped a wheel and flipped in turn four in the second "B" Main. Randolph was uninjured.
O'Reilly ASCoT COMP Cams Sizzlin' Summer Speedweek Round Three Results:
Heat Races (Top 16 in passing points to "A" Main -- Top 6 to Pole Dash; balance to Twin "B" Mains)
Brodix Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 2. 29-Travis Rilat, 3. 91-Darren Stewart, 4. 9-Gary Wright, 5. 52-Roy Larkin, 6. 92-Zach Chappell, 7. 22-Koby Barksdale, 8. 23-Jimmy Taylor, 9. 1b-Burt Davis. Wesmar-Shaver
Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 94h-Jerrod Hull, 2. 26-Rafe Essary, 3. 10w-Cody Wampler, 4. 94-Cody Branchcomb, 5. 010-Brian Roberts, 6. 22J-Jasiel Randolph, 7. 16$-Eddie Ramsey, 8. 81au-Gavin Punch. Brodix
Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 57-Roger Crockett, 2. 46-Jan Howard, 3. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 4. 4am-Travis Jenkins, 5. 5$-Danny Smith, 6. 10-Brian McClelland, 7. 80-Brett Thompson, 8. 11F-Foster Landon.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 15s-Nick Smith, 3. 72-Sherman Davis, 4. 15x-B.J. Fay, 5. 59-Dex Eaton, 6. 75-Jesse Hockett, 7. 14-Michael Lang, 8. 11z-Mike Goodman.
Heat Five (8 Laps): 1. 91-Darren Stewart, 2. 45-J.P. Bailey, 3. 4-Jamie Passmore, 4. 94w-Waylon Weaver, 5. 12-Trey Robb, 6. 44J-Abe Sherwood, 7. 1-Sean McClelland, 8. 26m-Shelly Ward.
Pole Dash (Finishing Order Determines Front Three Rows of "A" Main):
Pole Dash (5 Laps): 1. 91-Darren Stewart, 2. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 3. 94h-Jerrod Hull, 4. 41-Jason Johnson, 5. 26-Rafe Essary, 6. 57-Roger Crockett.
Note: After finishing in first, Crockett was disqualified due to a nose wing violation.
Twin "B" Mains -- Top 3 from each Advance to "A" Main
First "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 92-Zach Chappell, 2. 75-Jesse Hockett, 3. 59-Dex Eaton, 4. 1-Sean McClelland, 5. 52-Roy Larkin, 6. 10-Brian McClelland, 7. 4am-Travis Jenkins, 8. 81au-Gavin Punch, 9. 11z-Mike Goodman, 10. 16$-Eddie Ramsey, 11. 14-Michael Lang, 12. 010-Brian Roberts, 13. 1b-Burt Davis.
Second "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 65-Skip Wilson, 2. 12-Trey Robb, 3. 5$-Danny Smith, 4. 22-Koby Barksdale, 5. 44J-Abe Sherwood, 6. 11F-Foster Landon, 7. 15x-B.J. Fay, 8. 94w-Waylon Weaver, 9. 80-Brett Thompson, 10. 23-Jimmy Taylor, 11. 26m-Shelly Ward, 12. 22J-Jasiel Randolph.
O'Reilly ASCoT COMP Cams Sizzlin' Summer Speedweek Round Three "A" Main Event:
"A" Feature (30 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 91-Darren Stewart, 3. 57-Roger Crockett, 4. 9-Gary Wright, 5. 94-Cody Branchcomb, 6. 92-Zach Chappell, 7. 65-Skip Wilson, 8. 1-Sean McClelland, 9. 29-Travis Rilat, 10. 12-Trey Robb, 11. 75-Jesse Hockett, 12. 72-Sherman Davis, 13. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 14. 15s-Nick Smith, 15. 81au-Gavin Punch, 16. 94h-Jerrod Hull, 17. 26-Rafe Essary, 18. 45-J.P. Bailey, 19. 46-Jan Howard, 20. 59-Dex Eaton, 21. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 22. 5$-Danny Smith, 23. 10w-Cody Wampler, 24. 4-Jamie Passmore.
Lap Leaders: Darren Stewart 1-29, Jason Johnson 30.
Note: Sean McClelland utilized an O'Reilly ASCoT provisional for the main event, with Gavin Punch utilizing an ASCS Speedweek provisional to start the main event.
O'Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Nick Smith 2,193, 2. Gary Wright 2,170, 3. Jason Johnson 2,122, 4. Jesse Hockett 2,117, 5. Travis Rilat 2,082, 6. Darren Stewart 2,054, 7. Jan Howard 1,940, 8. Sean McClelland 1,924, 9. Trey Robb 1,799, 10. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 1,750, 11. Tony Bruce, Jr. 1,704, 12. Zach Chappell 1,476, 13. Abe Sherwood 1,416, 14. Jerrod Hull 1,214, 15. Dustin Daggett 1,153.
ASCS COMP Cams Sizzlin' Summer Speedweek Points (Top Fifteen Through Round Three of Six): 1. Jason Johnson 450, 2. Darren Stewart 414, 3. (tie) Nick Smith and Jerrod Hull 408, 5. Jesse Hockett 406, 6. Travis Rilat 400, 7. Gavin Punch 396, 8. Roger Crockett 388, 9. Gary Wright 386, 10. (tie) Sean McClelland and Tony Bruce, Jr. 378, 12. Trey Robb 376, 13. Zach Chappell 374, 14. Jan Howard 362, 15. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 356.