"Ragin' Cajun" Cooks Up ASCS Coastal Win at Southern Speedway HATTIESBURG, Miss. (April 20, 2007) -- Louisiana's Jason Johnson tuned up for Saturday night's O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series event at Magnolia Motor...
"Ragin' Cajun" Cooks Up ASCS Coastal Win at Southern Speedway
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (April 20, 2007) -- Louisiana's Jason Johnson tuned up for Saturday night's O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series event at Magnolia Motor Speedway by racing to victory lane in Friday night's 25-lap American Sprint Car Series Coastal Region feature at Southern Speedway.
"The Ragin' Cajun" survived an opening lap skirmish, opened up a large lead that was erased by a mid-race caution and then held off a late rush from Travis Rilat to pick up his first career ASCS Coastal Region win and second overall Regional win of the year aboard Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Motorsports/Custom Equipment Design No. 41 Eagle.
"We kept getting looser and looser and barely held on," Johnson commented afterward. "Travis was really coming on there at the end, we just about let this one get away."
Johnson led the field to the green flag with Floridian Danny Martin, Jr., alongside. Martin edged into the lead as the field raced into the first corner but the start was then waved off when apparent contact with Johnson sent "The Hammer" bouncing wildly into the turn two wall, collecting Kathryne Minter, Tommy Hall and Michael Miller in the process. All but Miller were done for the night.
"I didn't think I touched him, but he says I did," Johnson commented. "He had a little run on me going into one and then he got high and I didn't see him, I thought he got up in the marbles and got to bouncing around. I'm not gonna argue with him about it, I apologized to him if in fact I did hit him because that's not the way I race."
Martin's viewpoint differed. "I beat him into turn one and then he put a big slide on me and about knocked me out of the park."
With the field reset, Johnson found Gary Wright on his outside shoulder. Johnson battled into the lead on the opening round and the pair of O'Reilly ASCoT National aces quickly distanced themselves from the field as Robert Casada held off a gaggle of challengers in the early rounds for third.
Johnson hit lapped traffic by the fifth round and worked it masterfully on the racy high-banked 0x00bc-mile, opening up a straightaway lead over Wright by the tenth round. Meanwhile, Casada finally surrendered third position on the seventh circuit to Rilat, who was on the march after starting sixth.
Johnson's gaping advantage was then reduced to just one lapped car between himself and chasers Wright and Rilat when Johnny Miller spun and came to a stop in turn four with 13 laps in the books. Miller lost a lap in the process of his infield detour.
And when the race's final caution flew five laps later for Todd Fayard's turn four spin, Wright and Rilat were lined up Johnson's tailtank. As Johnson took off on the restart, Wright protected the low line only to have Rilat motor by on the high side to take over second in his new XXX-chassis.
Rilat closed the gap on Johnson, but lapped traffic over the final three laps worked to Johnson's advantage as he took the checkered flag with a three car-length advantage over the 2003 ASCS National champion.
Wright settled for the show position, while Brad Bowden made the most of his ASCS debut by charging from 13th to snare fourth. Current ASCS Coastal Region point leader Michael Dupuy climbed from eighth to round out the top five as the final car on the lead lap.
Casada crossed the stripe sixth, while Johnny Miller turned in the race's top passing performance by charging from 17th to seventh. Chris Sweeney claimed eighth, with Terry Vidrine and Fayard completing the top ten.
Martin, Michael Herrington and Wright topped heat race action, with Brian Dyar making a white-flap lap pass of Tommy Hall to win the "B" Main.
Miller climbed a wheel and flipped in turn four of the evening's opening heat race before rebounding with a strong feature drive, while Offshore Boat racer turned Sprint shoe Matt Reed took a turn four tumble in the "B" Main.
Shane Morgan scratched from the "A" Main after losing an engine in the Pole Dash. Lane Whittington burnt a piston while leading the night's opening heat race and was done for the night.
ASCS Coastal Region Results from Southern Speedway:
Heat One (10 Laps): 1. 00-Danny Martin, Jr., 2. k9-Robert Casada, 3. 93-Chris Sweeney, 4. 11T-T.J. Winegardner, 5. 13m-Kathryne Minter, 6. 00-Matt Reed, 7. 9-Lane Whittington, 8. 64J-Johnny Miller.
Heat Two (10 Laps): 1. 7-Michael Herrington, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. k12-Michael Dupuy, 4. 29-Travis Rilat, 5. 15-Brad Bowden, 6. 23-Brian Dyar, 7. 68-Terry Vidrine, 8. 09-Timmy Thrash.
Heat Three (10 Laps): 1. 9-Gary Wright, 2. 01-Shane Morgan, 3. 2-Todd Fayard, 4. 94c-Stephen Chevallier, 5. 1h-Tommy Hall, 6. 32-Hunter Phillips. DNS: 69-Michael Miller, 12-David Kountz.
Pole Dash (5 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 00-Danny Martin, Jr., 3. 9-Gary Wright, 4. 7-Michael Herrington, 5. k9-Robert Casada, 6. 01-Shane Morgan.
"B" Feature (10 Laps): 1. 23-Brian Dyar, 2. 1h-Tommy Hall, 3. 64J-Johnny Miller, 4. 68-Terry Vidrine, 5. 09-Timmy Thrash, 6. 69-Michael Miller, 7. 32-Hunter Phillips, 8. 00-Matt Reed. DNS: 9-Lane Whittington, 12-David Kountz.
"A" Feature (25 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 29-Travis Rilat, 3. 9-Gary Wright, 4. 15-Brad Bowden, 5. k12-Michael Dupuy, 6. k9-Robert Casada, 7. 64J-Johnny Miller, 8. 93-Chris Sweeney, 9. 68-Terry Vidrine, 10. 2-Todd Fayard, 11. 7-Michael Herrington, 12. 11T-T.J. Winegardner, 13. 23-Brian Dyar, 14. 94c-Stephen Chevallier, 15. 69-Michael Miller, 16. 09-Timmy Thrash, 17. 00-Danny Martin, Jr., 18. 13m-Kathryne Minter, 19. 1h-Tommy Hall, 20. 01-Shane Morgan.
ASCS Coastal Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Michael Dupuy 432, 2. Robert Casada 406, 3. Michael Herrington 402, 4. Todd Fayard 392, 5. Chris Sweeney 390, 6. Shane Morgan 372, 7. Timmy Thrash 370, 8. Lane Whittington 335, 9. Michael Miller 326, 10. Hunter Phillips 315.