Wayne in Victory Lane at 34 Raceway (Sandy Brockway Photo)
(Bill W) June 2, 2010 – It was just another win in another different car for Wayne Johnson, but the passing last week of friend, Jesse Hockett, made it a little more special. So when the checkers flew after Wayne had driven from 11th to the win with the Sprint Invaders at 34 Raceway near West Burlington, Iowa, he did some donuts as “The Rocket” had done on so many occasions.
The Dale Oaks #41 became the sixth different car that Wayne has driven this year alone, and at the end of the night, it became the third different ride he has found Victory Lane with. The luck of the draw did not come into play, as the Knoxville, Iowa driver would have to earn his way after starting eighth in the heat. “We drew 46 out of 50, so that is how the night started,” he says. “We were able to drive up to fourth in the heat, so there was nothing spectacular there.”
The finish would mean a starting spot inside row six for the 25-lap main event. After the track had yielded marginal passing room with a bottom groove early in the night, it widened for the feature. “The track blew off in three and four where you could go around the top,” says Wayne. “The bottom in one and two was the place to be. We were able to hit both ends pretty good.”
By the time a red flag hit on lap 13, Wayne was in contention. “It was a good race,” he says. “I worked hard to get through there. (Matt) Sutton was leading and (Jerrod) Hull was second. I had to race by those guys, and that was fun. Once we got by them, I think we pulled away.”
Wayne passed Hull on lap 15 for second, and moved by Sutton three laps later to take the lead. A caution on lap 20 didn’t slow him. “There was a restart with five to go, but I felt really good with the car,” he says. “Dale has some good stuff, and I think we were able to show that. I brought my own shocks and seat and everything worked well. I want to thank Dale for the opportunity.”
After the celebratory donuts, Wayne delivered an emotional interview in Victory Lane. “I know Jesse would want me to do it. If he was alive today he’d be here with us today racing. That’s what we do. It’s tough, I’m telling you. He was on my mind from the get go. Right before the feature started, we were riding around there waiting for the green flag and I said, ‘OK Jesse, let’s go to the front.’ I did it for him. I did it for me, too, but it sure makes me feel good to be able to win on the first night after he passed away.”
The two-time 360 Nationals champion has only raced at 34 Raceway on a few occasions. Free admission drew over 3,000 fans. “If that track had a little heavier population around it, I think it would be a heck of a show week in and week out with the sprint cars,” he says. “More people would bring the purses up, and it would go together with Knoxville pretty well. It reminds me a little of Little Rock…the size of the track and the way you pass on it.”
Barring finding a ride for this weekend, Wayne’s next action will be during the Illinois Sprint Week, as he teams with “Cactus” Jack Yeley in the #2. The week will start at Vermilion County Raceway in Danville on Tuesday June 8, before going to Farmer City Raceway on June 9, LaSalle Speedway on June 10, Tri-City Speedway in Granite City on June 11, Lincoln Speedway on June 12 and Shepp’s Speedway near Alexander on June 13.
Wayne is still seeking a permanent ride. If you would like to inquire about a partnership with Wayne, you can e-mail him at email@example.com.
Buy Your ARP Wings from Wayne
Wayne is an ARP Wings dealer located in the Knoxville, Iowa area. Wayne credits the new ARP top wing for his 2009 wins at Little Rock and Cowtown. Contact Wayne for your ARP Wing, as he has some special Holiday deals going! ARP Wings – “When Downforce Matters”!
To learn more about Wayne and the team, log on to www.WayneJohnsonRacing.com!
Bill W asks: Could you share a story or two of the time you spent with Jesse Hockett?
Wayne answers: We were in Australia. We were in a building overlooking the Swan River. A little 15 foot dingy (boat) got loose from the marina, and it was floating out there in the river. Hockett said, ‘I’m going to get that thing.’ I went to take a shower. I came back and he was gone. The next thing I know, he comes back soaking wet from head to toe. He had swum out to the dingy and fired it up. It didn’t have enough gas, so it floated further away from the marina. It had one oar, and he rowed it all the way back. He tied it to a post with a rope from a life jacket. He jumped back in the water, and swam back to shore. He came back and (Aussie) Jeff (Grubashaw) showed up. We told him Hockett had been swimming in the Swan River. He told us that there had been like four shark attacks in the last month in the Swan River!
Jesse and I shared a room down at the Elephant Run at the Chili Bowl (Tulsa) in 2009. We were all in the bar, and here comes Hockett and he goes in the room. We could see him through the glass because we were right by the pool. We got a ratchet strap and hooked it from a railing for the swimming pool to the doorknob so he couldn’t get out. We all sat there in the bar watching him try to get out. There are a lot of those stories, and some that can’t be printed. We had some fun!
Got a question for Wayne? Each week, Wayne will answer your questions about “Tech Tips”, or anything that’s on your mind. If you ever wondered what a part on a sprint car is all about, send an e-mail to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may answer it in this section! Put “? for Wayne” in your subject line. He’ll try to keep it clean if you do!
Wayne’s Fast Facts
This week in 2005, Wayne won the Bud Shootout at the US36 Raceway near Osborn, Missouri driving the Beaver Drill and Tool #12x owned by Bob Vielhauer of Shawnee, Kansas. Wayne finished ahead of friend, Jesse Hockett, Colin Northway, Jesse Giannetto, Skip Jackson and Brian Brown.
“Wednesday’s with Wayne”
“Wednesday’s With Wayne” is an up close look at the past, present and future of colorful and talented sprint car driver Wayne Johnson. You’ll never know what to expect next with Wayne, so don’t miss us on Wednesdays!
To receive “Wednesday’s with Wayne”, send an e-mail to email@example.com with “Wayne” in the subject line.