From Lonnie Wheatley, ELMA, Wash. (July 16, 2010) – Jason Johnson opened up the slightest bit of breathing room in the $60,000 Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National championship race by picking off his second series win of the year in Friday night’s 30-lap preliminary feature event at Grays Harbor Raceway.
“The Ragin’ Cajun” survived an early skirmish with defending event winner Travis Rilat and Zach Chappell before taking the lead away from Ricky Logan on the 17th round en route to victory lane atop the high-banked, 3/8-mile oval aboard the JJR Don Ott-powered Haynes/Pope Transportation No. 41 Maxim.
Johnson took his 45th career ASCS National win ahead of the battling duo of Jayme Barnes and Shane Stewart, with Logan taking the fourth and final lock-in position to Saturday night’s $10,092-to-win Fourth Annual Fred Brownfield Memorial championship main event.
“This is a high-speed joint, that’s kinda what I like,” Johnson explained of the semi-banked, 3/8-mile oval. “It’s something you can drive real straight and real fast.”
While Johnson gridded the feature field outside row two, it was pole starter Logan outgunning fellow front row starter Austen Wheatley for the lead at the outset and pacing the opening half of the race.
Behind Logan, the battle for position between Chappell, Rilat and Johnson heated up in short order. Chappell held down second until Rilat raced into the runner-up slot following a lap six restart after a Matt Covington spin in turn two.
Johnson followed soon after and then slid Rilat in turns one and two on the eleventh circuit, with the defending Brownfield Memorial winner looping it and collecting Chappell. Chappell turned over and was done for the night, while Rilat returned after quick repairs.
“I slid him first in three and four and I know I cleared him there,” Johnson explained afterward. “I don’t think I ever touched him there in one or two, I don’t know if I just took the wind off him or messed him up. I don’t think there was any contact though.”
Back under way, Johnson chased Logan for several rounds until traffic came into play. When Logan looked low, Johnson charged by on the high side exiting turn four on the 17th round and never looked back, not even letting one final caution with ten laps remaining deter his pace.
While Johnson cruised to the stripe on the top side of the track, the battle for position behind him was a wild one. Logan held the runner-up slot until Washington state native Barnes and two-time Brownfield Memorial winner Stewart of Bixby, OK, slid past in the final circuits.
Barnes slid past Logan for second on the 28th circuit and then held off a pair of Stewart sliders to secure runner-up honors aboard Roger Henderson’s Bailey Brothers-powered Island Mufflers & Brake No. 7n KPC.
While he knew he was in a lock-in position, Barnes explained of the battle with Stewart that, “I thought if I lifted, I might go back to fifth so we stuck in there.”
Stewart claimed the show position from the 12th starting position in Paul Silva’s Wesmar-powered Rock Star Energy Drink No. 57 A.R.T. to stay within 45 points of Johnson in the Lucas Oil title chase, explaining that, “The thing with ASCS is you learn to race every lap as hard as you can whether you’re locked in or not.”
Logan put the clamps on the fourth and final lock-in position aboard the Lucas Oil No. 10a, with Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Channin Tankersley turning in his top run of the year by charging from 14th to round out the top five aboard the Harris-powered Griffith Truck & Equipment No. 71 Maxim.
Mitch Olson was the second ASCS Northwest contender among the top ten with a sixth-place run, while Kyle Hirst made the most of his second provisional start of the year by racing from 23rd to seventh.
Jason Solwold was eighth, with 16th-starter Jack Dover and 19th-starter Gary Taylor completing the top ten.
Logan, Johnson, Barnes, Solwold, Garen Linder, Chadd Noland and Darren Long topped heat race action for the 58-car field, with Tony Bruce, Jr., Henry Van Dam and Taylor winning the 15-lap “B” Mains.
Mike Melwicks crossed the stripe first in the night’s fifth heat race but destroyed his machine when he crashed into the turn two wall and flipped after a parts failure. Seth Bergman got upside down in turn one on the opening lap of the first “B” Main, while Shane Broers flipped in turn three in the second “B” Main. There were no injuries.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters
Fourth Annual Fred Brownfield Memorial
Grays Harbor Raceway Friday Preliminary Results:
Heat Races (Top 16 in Passing Points to “A” Main; Balance to 3 “B” Mains):
Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 10a-Ricky Logan, 2. 53-Jack Dover, 3. 23n-Gary Taylor, 4. 57-Shane Stewart, 5. 6n-Billy Nutter, 6. 0j-Jay Cole, 7. 55-Trey Starks, 8. 27dd-David Holiness, 9. 87a-Andrew Marshal.
Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 11-Roger Crockett, 2. 72-Glenn Borden, 3. 94-Danny Wood, 4. 93-Dustin Morgan, 5. 73-Danielle Hudson, 6. 95-Matt Covington, 7. 57c-Chris Schmelzle, 8. 2L-Logan Forler, 9. 26-Sammy Wright.
Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 7n-Jayme Barnes, 2. 99-Brady Bacon, 3. 25c-Chad Groves, 4. 08-Steve Vague, 5. 94T-Steven Tiner, 6. 76-Shawn Rice, 7. 35a-Wayne Johnson, 8. 23-Seth Bergman.
Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 39c-Jason Solwold, 2. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 3. 50z-Zach Chappell, 4. 99v-Randy VanAagten, 5. 38-Jake Mann, 6. 5d-Josh DeWitt, 7. 11-Roger Crockett, 8. 5h-Justyn Cox.
Heat Five (8 Laps): 1. 22-Garen Linder, 2. 98m-Mitch Olson, 3. 9p-Jared Peterson, 4. 71-Channin Tankersley, 5. 11w-Shane Broers, 6. 44-Kelly Miller, 7. 15-Dan Dunlap, 8. 2m-Mike Melwicks (failed to report to scales after taking the checkered flag in first).
Heat Six (8 Laps): 1. 13-Chadd Noland, 2. 29-Travis Rilat, 3. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 4. 7a-J.J. Hickle, 5. 21w-Vern Wheeler, 6. 31-Colton Akerstrom, 7. 96-Mack Brown, 8. 54-Mike Gable.
Heat Seven (8 Laps): 1. 3g-Darren Long, 2. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 3. 8r-Travis Jacobson, 4. 88-Tim Crawley, 5. 19-T.J. Hartman, 6. 6-Kyle Hirst, 7. 9j-J.J. Dishneau, 8. 10j-Jake Waddell.
“B” Mains (Top 2 From Each Advance to “A” Main):
First “B” Feature (15 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. 94-Danny Wood, 3. 9p-Jared Peterson, 4. 55-Trey Starks, 5. 08-Steve Vague, 6. 0j-Jay Cole, 7. 57c-Chris Schmelzle, 8. 7a-J.J. Hickle, 9. 73-Danielle Huson, 10. 87a-Andrew Marshala, 11. 38-Jake Mann, 12. 31-Colton Akerstrom, 13. 54-Mike Gable, 14. 23-Seth Bergman.
Second “B” Feature (15 Laps): 1. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 2. 94T-Steven Tiner, 3. 95-Matt Covington, 4. 35a-Wayne Johnson, 5. 93-Dustin Morgan, 6. 2L-Logan Forler, 7. 6-Kyle Hirst, 8. 72-Glenn Borden, 9. 76-Shawn Rice, 10. 10j-Jake Waddell, 11. 26-Sammy Wright, 12. 25c-Chad Groves, 13. 11w-Shane Broers. DNS: 15-Dan Dunlap.
Third “B” Feature (15 Laps): 1. 23n-Gary Taylor, 2. 8r-Travis Jacobson, 3. 11-Roger Crockett, 4. 5h-Justyn Cox, 5. 6n-Billy Nutter, 6. 5d-Josh DeWitt, 7. 9j-J.J. Dishneau, 8. 19-T.J. Hartman, 9. 44-Kelly Miller, 10. 27dd-David Hoiness, 11. 96-Mack Brown, 12. 99v-Randy VanAagten, 13. 21w-Vern Wheeler. DNS: 2m-Mike Melwicks.
Grays Harbor Raceway Preliminary “A” Main Event (Top 4 Locked into Saturday’s $10,092-to-win Fred Brownfield Memorial Championship Main Event):
“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 7n-Jayme Barnes, 3. 57-Shane Stewart, 4. 10a-Ricky Logan, 5. 71-Channin Tankersley, 6. 98m-Mitch Olson, 7. 6-Kyle Hirst, 8. 39c-Jason Solwold, 9. 53-Jack Dover, 10. 23n-Gary Taylor, 11. 99-Brady Bacon, 12. 13-Chadd Noland, 13. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 14. 22-Garen Linder, 15. 3g-Darren Long, 16. 8r-Travis Jacobson, 17. 88-Tim Crawley, 18. 94T-Steven Tiner, 19. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 20. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 21. 29-Travis Rilat, 22. 94-Danny Wood, 23. 95-Matt Covington, 24. 50z-Zach Chappell.
Lap Leaders: Ricky Logan 1-16, Jason Johnson 17-30.
Note: Kyle Hirst and Matt Covington both utilized their second provisionals of the year to start the main event.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters Points (Top 20): 1. Jason Johnson 1,403, 2. Shane Stewart 1,358, 3. Brady Bacon 1,333, 4. Jack Dover 1,297, 5. Tony Bruce, Jr. 1,249, 6. Zach Chappell 1,244, 7. Tim Crawley 1,218, 8. Kyle Hirst 1,201, 9. Danny Wood 1,195, 10. Ricky Logan 1,124, 11. Matt Covington 1,119, 12. Travis Rilat 1,087, 13. Darren Long 1,016, 14. Channin Tankersley 946, 15. Austen Wheatley 926, 16. Gary Wright 911, 17. Dustin Morgan 907, 18. Justyn Cox 891, 19. Andrew Marshala 758, 20. Johnny Herrera 501.
ASCS Northwest Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Roger Crockett 1,229, 2. Jason Solwold 1,154, 3. Mitch Olson 1,136, 4. Jayme Barnes 1,039, 5. Seth Bergman 1,037, 6. Henry Van Dam 1,032, 7. Trey Starks 870, 8. Garen Linder 857, 9. T.J. Hartman 829, 10. Steven Tiner 756.