(Bill W) June 23, 2010 – Wayne Johnson’s return to the Knoxville Raceway went well. After putting his team together in a few days, it was time to load his #77x on the flatbed and head into town. This was the seventh different sprinter Wayne has run in 2010. The result was a second place on Mid-Season Championship night. The $3,000 check will come in handy as he prepares to do some double-duty this Saturday night.
With a week of heavy rains, just getting the race in was an accomplishment. Wayne worried about fast and rough conditions, but Kris Dunkin and the rest of the track crew did a good job. “I have to give props to the track crew with the week of rain we had,” says the Knoxville, Iowa driver. “I was really worried about it being rough and heavy, and they gave us a smooth track. It never really got one lane until halfway through the feature.”
The driest qualifying conditions in recent memory changed the setup for most competitors. Wayne would come out of the gate 13th and time in second quick. He’s not quite sure why. “We were tightening the car up and hoping for the best, really,” he says. “I’d never run the motor before, so we really lucked out picking a gear to run and all that.”
It was Wayne’s first real test of the new Goodyear tire on a track like Knoxville. “With the Goodyears, the racecars are slowing down so much,” he says. “The tires get a lot of heat and if it is slick like it was, it gets to where you take off good, but you slow as the race goes on. I’d like to see a printout of the times, because I’m sure they slow down as you go.”
Wayne stayed clean in the heat and finished fourth after starting sixth. “I ran (Kaley) Gharst down, but I didn’t want to take many chances with him,” he says. “The heat race was really one-lane around the cushion. I was able to run the bottom side by side with him, but the tires really heated up, so I went back up top.”
With the invert being eight on Saturday, Wayne settled inside row four to start the 20-lap feature. He surged forward immediately, and soon found himself going by Brian Brown into second behind Don Droud Jr. “I thought we had a really good shot at winning if the rubber hadn’t come (later),” he says. “At one point, I was right up on Droud, and that’s when Johnny (Herrera) got by us both. They were all running up on the curb, but it was nasty and there were holes built up, especially in two.”
Herrera broke a driveline, putting Wayne back in second, where he would finish behind Droud. “I just started ticking the right rear just below the curb, and I was able to stay with them,” he says. “I was waiting for someone to make a mistake, but Droud did a good job. It was my first really good run on the Goodyears, and they definitely slow things down. I hate to say it, but they really put the racer back in the game.”
The extra pay on Mid-Season Championship night came in handy for a guy just starting a team with his wife Erin. “It was a good payday for someone with an open trailer and not a lot of spares,” he says. “But we could really use some sponsorship help, and I’m open to ride offers too. This will help us with tires going into this week. How can you complain about that?”
With the proper towing vehicle, Wayne would be racing with the World of Outlaws on Friday, but he will instead focus on racing in both the 360 and 410 classes at Knoxville on Saturday. “If I had a truck and trailer, I’d be going to McCool Junction on Friday to run with the World of Outlaws, but we’re not taking the flatbed over there,” he says. “We’re getting our spare parts built up right now, as far as wings, rear ends and that sort of thing.”
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!
Wingynut25 asks: When you get a call or offer to drive someone’s car, do you always take your own seat and shocks like you did to drive Dale Oaks’ car at Burlington?
Wayne answers: Not always the shocks, but definitely my Butlerbuilt seat. It just depends on the shock package people have. There are a lot of good shock manufacturers out there, but I prefer whoever I’m running with has the dyno sheets on them, and Dale didn’t happen to have that in that case. I learned my lesson about not bringing my seat in Australia in 2008. I ended up getting hurt in someone else’s seat. I’m actually waiting on two brand new Butlerbuilt seats this week, so I need to thank Jeannie and Brian Butler for those.
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
Wayne has done well on the nights he has pulled double duty in two features at Knoxville. He has one win (2008 360 Nationals) in the Hammers #94, two seconds (2007 360 Nationals), one in the Christoffer #14AJ and one in the 410 Vielhauer #12x. He also has a sixth and eighth place finish in the 410’s, and another 15th (#12x) in the 360 Nationals.
“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!
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