By Bill W,photo by Robert Kocak
April 13, 2011 – It was another successful weekend for Wayne Johnson, owner/crew chief, Bryan Sumby, and the #38 team. A solid field of sprinters was on hand for the two-day show at I-80 Speedway near Greenwood, Nebraska last weekend. The show was sanctioned by the ASCS-Midwest series and Wayne registered a fourth place finish in the prelim and second in Saturday’s finale. This weekend, the Knoxville, Iowa driver will return to the Lucas Oil ASCS National Series as they invade the I-30 Speedway near Little Rock, Arkansas for a two-night affair.
On a heavy surface at I-80 last Friday night, Wayne took a bumpy ride from fifth to second in his heat. “We’re stumbling a bit on the start,” he says of the #38. “We’re trying to figure out the balance a little bit. Early on, with the fuel load on, there is a little too much drive. It wants to rear up. Once we get that fuel load off, we get going pretty well.”
After drawing a six pill, Wayne posted outside row three for the feature. It was a slow start. “We fell back to about eighth,” he says. “I had a brand new helmet on, and it fogged up on me. We changed to the used one on Saturday.”
Though a number of competitors pulled in with vision problems, Wayne used a couple of cautions to clear his shield. He battled up to the fourth spot at the checkers. “I got rolling there pretty well,” he says. “We came up through there. I think in another lap we could have gotten (Don) Droud (for third). I don’t know that we had anything for (Brian) Brown or (winner Seth) Bergman, but we may have run third.”
A different racetrack developed on Saturday, and Wayne led every lap of his heat race, putting himself back in the redraw for the main event. “We changed some things on the car, and the racetrack was drier,” he says. “We’ve got so much drive on the car like I was saying…the slick worked into our favor. I’m pretty sure those heat race laps we put in were the fastest of the night.”
It was a great battle between Wayne and Terry McCarl, Jack Dover, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Ryan Anderson and Bergman in the top five. “I really was coming on before the first caution came on,” says Wayne, who was running fourth at the time. “I didn’t think we were much faster getting through there, but everyone came back to us. I don’t know if those guys are getting tired at the end or what. I felt like we were running the same speed.”
He was able to move by Billy Alley on the restart for third. “It seemed early on there may have been some rubber on the bottom of four, but I came back later and it was gone,” says Wayne. “Sometimes, when the dust gets blown across it, it can go away. The track was kind of the way it was the last time I was there. The top of one and two were good along with the bottom of three and four. I kept my eye on some moisture at the top of four, and I wanted to save that for a bonsai deal. It ended up working.”
The move came on Droud and Wayne was into second. A last restart put him on Brown’s bumper, but he finished second as his right rear lost air as he went back to the pits. “To be honest, I’m glad we finished,” he says. “On the green, white, checker restart, we had our right rear going down. I’m happy we were able to run second.”
The improvements over the course of the weekend can be used going forward, starting with Little Rock. “We were building and building,” says Wayne. “I’m really excited to get to Little Rock. That was our first night on the Super Shox. I was pretty happy with those. The balance of the car was good.”
With many big wins at the Arkansas ¼ mile, Wayne is ready to head south. “We have some good notes from there,” he says. “We have to use what we’ve been doing. I think we’ll be fine. A good draw can come in handy. We need to quit giving these guys a head start!”
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Wayne is an Outlaw Wings dealer located in the Knoxville, Iowa area. Wayne credits the new Outlaw top wing for his 2009 wins at Little Rock and Cowtown. Contact Wayne for your Outlaw Wing, as he has some special Holiday deals going! Outlaw Wings – “When Downforce Matters”!
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Alex Morgan asks: I know Seth Bergman has set up shop at your place in Knoxville again this year. There are other teams around town. How can you use that to your advantage?
Wayne answers: I don’t know if we can use it to our advantage as much as they are using it to theirs! Seth did a great job on Friday night. I’m proud of him. I tell him that if I can’t win, he should. If he just listens to me, he’ll be all right. He helps me out at Elma (Washington) though. He’s about the best there is on that track.
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Wayne’s Fast Facts
Wayne won the prestigious Short Track Nationals in 1997, at I-30 Speedway. He piloted the Bobby Sparks #91 to victory over Steve Gennetten, Mike Ward, Pete Butler and Gary Wright.
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Wayne would like to thank the following for making this possible: BDS Motorsports, Parker Machine, Champion Oil, BMRS Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Max Muscle, Butlerbuilt, Hinchman, Schoenfeld Headers, Super Shox, Hoosier Racing Midwest, Rod End Supply, Fuel Safe, Simpson, Conroy Pneu Controls, KSE, Maxim Chassis, Kinsler Fuel Injection, Astro Titanium, ITI Lubricants, DMI, Laser Carwash and Speedway Motors