Jason Johnson Sweeps Through ASCS Regional Shootout Field at Devil's Bowl MESQUITE, Texas (September 1, 2007) -- O'Reilly ASCoT National invader Jason Johnson of Eunice, LA, took advantage of an idle evening to post a clean sweep of Saturday ...
Jason Johnson Sweeps Through ASCS Regional Shootout Field at Devil's Bowl
MESQUITE, Texas (September 1, 2007) -- O'Reilly ASCoT National invader Jason Johnson of Eunice, LA, took advantage of an idle evening to post a clean sweep of Saturday night's Fifth Annual American Sprint Car Series Gulf South vs. Sooner Region Shootout with a wire-to-wire drive in the 25-lap feature at Devil's Bowl Speedway.
And while last year's National Driver of the Year took the $2,000 victory with nearly a full straightaway advantage over the battling trio of Larry Neighbors, Kevin Ramey and Travis Rilat, his eleventh overall ASCS triumph of the season aboard Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Motorsports/Custom Equipment Design No. 41 Eagle didn't come without some anxious moments.
"I dropped a cylinder with about five or six laps to go," Johnson commented afterward. "I was just praying there wouldn't be a caution those last few laps because I wasn't sure if it would take off again if we slowed down. Even when I got behind lapped cars at the end, it would start bogging down so I had to kind of let 'em get ahead of me and try to get a good run to keep the momentum going."
"The Ragin' Cajun" had little to worry about as far as challengers though, as his nearest rivals were dicing for position well back on the track.
Starting from the pole position, Johnson outgunned fellow front row starter Michael Lang for the point at the drop of the green and survived a pair of caution flags in the opening three circuits as Neighbors and Justin Zimmerman traded the runner-up position.
When action resumed on lap four, Johnson needed just four laps to open up a full straightaway advantage as Neighbors took over second on the sixth round.
Slicing through lapped traffic, Johnson's sizable lead was erased after twelve laps for Derek Cottrell's turn four spin. But Johnson checked out once again on the restart, reestablishing his commanding lead in another four-lap span.
Racing through lapped traffic over the final circuits, Johnson nursed his ailing engine to the checkered flag unabated.
Two-time ASCS Sooner Region champion Ramey and eleventh-starter Rilat closed in on defending race winner Neighbors in the final rounds, with the trio dicing for the runner-up slot. Neighbors held on to the position to the line just ahead of Ramey and Rilat, with Nick Smith advancing four positions to round out the top five.
Fourteenth-starter Danny Jennings crossed the stripe sixth, with Zimmerman, 13th-starter Cody Branchcomb, 19th-starter Skip Wilson and Gavin Punch completing the top ten.
Zimmerman, Eric Baldaccini, Neighbors and Johnson topped heat race action for the 33-car field. Greg Rilat paced the opening ten rounds of the 12-lap "B" Main before coasting to the infield with mechanical problems, handing the win to Skip Wilson.
Wilson moved atop a close ASCS Gulf South points chase that has just ten points separating the top four, while Branchcomb reclaimed a slim American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region points lead with just six points separating the top three.
Fifth Annual ASCS Gulf South vs. American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Shootout Results from Devil's Bowl Speedway:
Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 7J-Justin Zimmerman, 2. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 3. 94-Cody Branchcomb, 4. 93-Chris Sweeney, 5. 14e-Todd Evans, 6. 3-Gary Watson, 7. 12m-Tommy Bryant, 8. 23-Darryl Wills. DNS: 41-Ray Allen Kulhanek.
Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 2. 14-Michael Lang, 3. 31-Brandon Berryman, 4. 29-Travis Rilat, 5. 65-Skip Wilson, 6. 87-Brian McClelland, 7. 15b-Michael Brown. DNS: 31x-Matt Clevenger.
Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 29n-Larry Neighbors, 2. 64J-Johnny Miller, 3. 61J-Danny Jennings, 4. 51-Jimmy Brooks, 5. 45-J.P. Bailey, 6. 25-Derek Cottrell, 7. 15-Brad Stokes, 8. 70-Anthony Reaves.
Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 41L-Jason Johnson, 2. 41x-Brent Swift, 3. 15s-Nick Smith, 4. 81au-Gavin Punch, 5. 35-Greg Rilat, 6. 20-Richard Holt, 7. 13m-Kathryne Minter, 8. 14b-Robert Byrom.
Pole Dash (5 Laps): 1. 41L-Jason Johnson, 2. 14-Michael Lang, 3. 29n-Larry Neighbors, 4. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 5. 7J-Justin Zimmerman, 6. 7m-Kevin Ramey.
"B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 65-Skip Wilson, 2. 3-Gary Watson, 3. 87-Brian McClelland, 4. 25-Derek Cottrell, 5. 31x-Matt Clevenger, 6. 12m-Tommy Bryant, 7. 15b-Michael Brown, 8. 23-Darryl Wills, 9. 13m-Kathryne Minter, 10. 15-Brad Stokes, 11. 14b-Robert Byrom, 12. 70-Anthony Reaves, 13. 35-Greg Rilat, 14. 20-Richard Holt. DNS: 41-Ray Allen Kulhanek.
"A" Feature (25 Laps): 1. 41L-Jason Johnson, 2. 29n-Larry Neighbors, 3. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 4. 29-Travis Rilat, 5. 15s-Nick Smith, 6. 61J-Danny Jennings, 7. 7J-Justin Zimmerman, 8. 94-Cody Branchcomb, 9. 65-Skip Wilson, 10. 81au-Gavin Punch, 11. 31x-Matt Clevenger, 12. 93-Chris Sweeney, 13. 31-Brandon Berryman, 14. 87-Brian McClelland, 15. 3-Gary Watson, 16. 14-Michael Lang, 17. 25-Derek Cottrell, 18. 51-Jimmy Brooks, 19. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 20. 12m-Tommy Bryant, 21. 64J-Johnny Miller, 22. 41x-Brent Swift, 23. 14e-Todd Evans, 24. 45-J.P. Bailey.
ASCS Gulf South Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Skip Wilson 1,090, 2. (tie) Brandon Berryman and Gary Watson 1,082, 4. Chris Sweeney 1,054, 5. Jimmy Brooks 1,052, 6. Greg Rilat 1,032, 7. Tommy Bryant 1,022, 8. Ray Allen Kulhanek 1,012, 9. Johnny Miller 972, 10. Richard Holt 913.
American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Cody Banchcomb 1,090, 2. Kevin Ramey 1,085, 3. Brian McClelland 1,084, 4. Gavin Punch 982, 5. Michael Brown 888, 6. Ray Allen Kulhanek 860, 7. J.P. Bailey 857, 8. Derek Cottrell 792, 9. Nick Smith 762, 10. Eric Baldaccini 723.