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Johnson Earns Fourth Series Win of 2016

From Brendan Capria

CONCORD, N.C. (October 28, 2016) – Jason Johnson set the tone for the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Friday night, winning the first night of racing for the Bad Boy Off Road World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. Johnson, who idled his winged sprint down victory lane for the fourth time this season, has made his victories count for the series’ most celebrated races in 2016.

“I’ll tell you what, these Priority Aviation/ Mesilla Valley Transportation guys have been doing a hell of a job all year long,” said Johnson, beaming on the front-stretch. “To cap it off at the end of the year with a victory in front of this great crowd…couldn’t say any more bout the facility at such an awesome event…to win is just an honor.”

Earlier in the year, Johnson recorded his second win at the prestigious 5-Hour Energy Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores on August 13. At Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway, the Eunice, La. native battled wheel-to-wheel with points leader Donny Schatz for a valuable extension on the event’s 56-year history. Johnson encountered a similar situation at World Finals.

Johnson, who started fourth in the feature, preceded the feature with a heat win and second place finish in the second Craftsman® Club Dash; Dale Blaney finished ahead of him. With Blaney starting second and fellow Platinum driver Brad Sweet on the pole for the 30-lap feature, Johnson faced an uphill battle chock-full of the sport’s most proven drivers.

Sweet, riding the high of winning the first dash of the night, started strong into the green flag. However, Blaney superseded his prowess and managed to take the top spot in the opening laps. Within the first three laps, Blaney increased his lead to 2.044 seconds. Two laps later, Johnson caught his stride and undertook Sweet exiting turn one for the second spot.

Sweet did not go down without a fight; he redeemed his spot on the race’s ninth lap. The two drivers thereon jockeyed for the runner-up spot, both using an under-over maneuver on each other for the next two laps. Johnson got the best of the battle, securing the spot exiting turn four on the 11th lap.

From there, Sweet faded. Logan Schuchart, who started seventh on the night, got around Sweet for the final podium position. While Schuchart was solidifying his spot on the podium, Johnson was cutting into Blaney’s lead. With 10 laps remaining, Johnson came within 0.382 seconds before the race’s first and only caution. By this time, the World of Outlaws regulars claimed six out of the top seven spots. Schatz was sitting in sixth.

“I’m very lucky to drive this racecar right now,” Schuchart said. “Our guys do a very great job, and it’s a fast car. I felt better as the race went on. I felt like it was the fastest car at the end of the race. The weather looks similar tomorrow so hopefully the track is similar.”

On the restart, Johnson closed the gap more than he had originally. Blaney and Johnson fought side-by-side, their cars parallel to each other exiting turn four with nine laps remaining. All the while, Schatz began his charge to the front. The seven-time series champion – soon to be eighth once he signs in for the event’s finale – made his way up to third with six laps left in the feature.

“These guys did an incredible job,” Schatz said. “The racetrack: you really didn’t know what was going to happen there. I’m glad those guys worked it. It made for a great race. I thought we were in really great shape coming through there. I tried to change and adapt to what I had. Tonight was definitely a big learning curve, and it’s definitely fun.”

Johnson proved to be too much for Blaney, and in the closing laps fell back. Johnson had sole possession of the lead. Schuchart and Schatz were able to get by Blaney, finishing one-two respectively behind Johnson. With Schatz’s charge, he recorded his 59th top-five performance of the year. Adding to the series’ success, the Outlaws placed in eight of the top-10 spots.

“We’re a privateer team, and we’re definitely financially driven,” said Johnson, earning the $12,000 purse. “So, it’s an honor to pull-off another victory.”

Schatz, who doubled-over into the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series, finished 15th in the 50-lap feature which preceded the Sprint class. Schatz said he is having “a lot of fun” dabbling in both classes, but his focus for the finale will be in sprint car.

“I don’t think I was cut-out to drive those cars,” Schatz said. “Those 50 laps seemed like 500 to me. It was brutal. Tomorrow will be a little better being able to run the sprint car first. So, we’ll see what happens with that.”

The Dirt Track at Charlotte Notebook

RACE NOTES: Jason Johnson, who started fourth in the feature, spent the majority of the 30-lap feature battling toward the front. Once the Platinum driver sealed the deal for the second position, he had his sights toward overtaking Dale Blaney for the lead. With six laps remaining, Johnson succeeded. Streaking Logan Schuchart replaced Blaney for the second spot in the closing laps. Donny Schatz, who started in 13th position, followed Schuchart into the podium. Schatz was honored with the KSE Hard Charger Award, climbing 10 positions in all.

CONTINGENCY WINNERS: MSD Ignitions ($25 cash): Paul McMahan; MSD Ignitions ($50 cash): Jason Johnson; Penske Shocks ($50 cash): Donny Schatz; JE Pistons ($50 cash): Brad Sweet; VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash): Daryn Pittman; Edelbrock ($50 cash): Daryn Pittman; Comp Cams ($50 cash): Joey Saldana; Morton Buildings ($50 cash): Brian Brown; Cometic Gasket ($50 cash): Brent Marks; Super Flow ($50 cash): Jason Sides; Craftsman Club Fast Five ($100 cash): Brad Sweet, Shane Stewart, Logan Schuchart, David Gravel, Daryn Pittman, Jason Johnson, Joey Saldana; Craftsman/Sears: Greg Hodnett, Dale Blaney; KSE Hard Charger: Donny Schatz; Comp Cams ($50 product certificate): Jason Johnson; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Danny Dietrich; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Paul McMahan

SEASON WINNERS: Donny Schatz – 24(Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 14, The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 4, Stockton Dirt Track on March 18, Stockton Dirt Track on March 19, Silver Dollar Speedway on April 2, Lincoln Speedway on May 19, Weedsport Speedway on May 22, Lincoln Park Speedway on June 8, Knoxville Raceway on June 11, River Cities Speedway on June 17, Rockford Speedway on June 29, Badlands Motor Speedway on July 3, Cedar Lake Speedway on July 9, Attica Raceway Park on July 12, Eldora Speedway on July 16, Ohsweken Speedway on July 26, Junction Motor Speedway on August 16, Angell Park Speedway on August 21, River Cities Speedway on August 26, Nodak Speedway on August 28, Willamette Speedway on September 7, Clay County Fair Speedway on September 16, Lernerville Speedway on September 24, Fulton Speedway on October 8); David Gravel – 9 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 12, Tri-State Speedway on May 14, I-96 Speedway on June 6, Eldora Speedway on July 14, Lernerville Speedway on July 19, Wilmot Raceway on July 30, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 5, Skagit Speedway on Sept 2 and 3); Shane Stewart – 8 (Arizona Speedway on March 6, Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 23, Lawrenceburg Speedway on May 30, Granite City Speedway on June 15, Brown County Speedway on June 19, Silver Dollar Speedway on September 9; Hartford Speedway on September 22; Eldora Speedway on September 24); Brad Sweet – 8 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 13, Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 14, Cotton Bowl Speedway on Feb. 26, Ocean Speedway on April 1, Bakersfield Speedway on April 15, Plymouth Speedway on May 13, Badlands Motor Speedway on July 2; Lakeside Speedway on October 21); Daryn Pittman – 8 (Royal Purple Raceway on Feb. 27, Perris Auto Speedway on April 16, USA Raceway on April 18, New Egypt Speedway on May 24, Jackson Motorplex on June 24, Eldora Speedway on July 15, Williams Grove Speedway on July 22; Salina Highbanks Speedway on October 22); Joey Saldana – 5 (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 3, Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 22, Jacksonville Speedway on May 4, I-80 Speedway on June 22, U.S. 36 Raceway on September 17); Jason Johnson – 4 (Placerville Speedway on March 24, Knoxville Nationals on August 13, El Paso County Raceway on September 14, The Dirt Track at Charlotte on October 28); Lance Dewease – 2 (Williams Grove Speedway on May 20, Williams Grove Speedway on July 23); Kerry Madsen – 2 (Eldora Speedway on May 6 and 7); Rico Abreu – 2 (Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 6, Silver Dollar Speedway on September 10); Logan Schuchart – 2 (Cedar Lake Speedway on July 9; Port Royal Speedway on October 15); Bill Balog – 1 (Beaver Dam Raceway on June 25); Chad Kemenah – 1 (Fremont Speedway on June 3); Terry McCarl – 1 (Knoxville Raceway on June 10); Jason Sides – 1 (I-30 Speedway on April 26); Greg Wilson – 1 (The Dirt Track at Charlotte on May 27); Danny Dietrich – 1 (Williams Grove Speedway on October 14)

World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; The Dirt Track at Charlotte, N.C.; Oct. 28, 2016

Feature – (30 Laps) – 1. 41-Jason Johnson [4] [$12,000]; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart [7] [$5,500]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [13] [$3,200]; 4. 1B-Dale Blaney [2] [$2,800]; 5. 49-Brad Sweet [1] [$2,500]; 6. 5-David Gravel [9] [$2,300]; 7. 2-Shane Stewart [5] [$2,200]; 8. 10H-Chad Kemenah [6] [$2,100]; 9. 9-Daryn Pittman [11] [$2,050]; 10. 83-Joey Saldana [10] [$2,000]; 11. 21-Brian Brown [8] [$1,500]; 12. 2M-Brent Marks [15] [$1,200]; 13. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [17] [$1,100]; 14. 7S-Jason Sides [23] [$1,050]; 15. 2L-Danny Lasoski [12] [$1,000]; 16. 71M-Dave Blaney [21] [$1,000]; 17. 18-Ian Madsen [19] [$1,000]; 18. 48-Danny Dietrich [14] [$1,000]; 19. 82-Sammy Swindell [18] [$1,000]; 20. W20-Greg Wilson [25] [$]; 21. 49X-Tim Shaffer [22] [$1,000]; 22. 7-Paul McMahan [24] [$1,000]; 23. 27-Greg Hodnett [3] [$1,000]; 24. 19-Paige Polyak [20] [$1,000]; 25. 51S-Stevie Smith [16] [$1,000] Lap Leaders: Dale Blaney 1-23, Jason Johnson 24-30 KSE Hard Charger Award: 15-Donny Schatz[+10]

Heat 1 – (8 Laps – Top 3 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 49-Brad Sweet [2] ; 2. 27-Greg Hodnett [1] ; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [4] ; 4. 18-Ian Madsen [3] ; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser [5] ; 6. 17W-Kerry Madsen [7] ; 7. W20-Greg Wilson [6] ; 8. OO-Dane Lorenc [8] ; 9. 13-Clyde Knipp [9]

Heat 2 – (8 Laps – Top 3 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 2-Shane Stewart [1] ; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart [2] ; 3. 2M-Brent Marks [4] ; 4. 67-Tanner Thorson [6] ; 5. 19-Paige Polyak [3] ; 6. 17B-Bill Balog [8] ; 7. 49H-Doug Esh [5] ; 8. 23C-Tyler Courtney [7]

Heat 3 – (8 Laps – Top 3 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 5-David Gravel [2] ; 2. 9-Daryn Pittman [1] ; 3. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [4] ; 4. 7S-Jason Sides [3] ; 5. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [5] ; 6. 3G-Carson Macedo [6] ; 7. 25-Tyler Bear [7] ; 8. 4S-Danny Smith [8]

Heat 4 – (8 Laps – Top 3 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 1B-Dale Blaney [1] ; 2. 83-Joey Saldana [2] ; 3. 48-Danny Dietrich [4] ; 4. 49X-Tim Shaffer [3] ; 5. 77X-Parker Price-Miller [7] ; 6. 94-Ryan Smith [6] ; 7. 4-Cole Duncan [5] ; 8. 91-Chad Boespflug [8]

Heat 5 – (8 Laps – Top 3 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 10H-Chad Kemenah [1] ; 2. 21-Brian Brown [3] ; 3. 51S-Stevie Smith [2] ; 4. 7-Paul McMahan [4] ; 5. 99-Brady Bacon [5] ; 6. 2MX-Hunter Schuerenburg [6] ; 7. 23M-Lance Moss [7] ; 8. A67-Cale Conley [8]

Heat 6 – (8 Laps – Top 3 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 41-Jason Johnson [1] ; 2. 2L-Danny Lasoski [2] ; 3. 82-Sammy Swindell [7] ; 4. 71M-Dave Blaney [3] ; 5. 23-Trey Starks [6] ; 6. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [4] ; 7. 1A-Jac Haudenschild [5] ; 8. 27G-Jay Galloway [8]

Craftsman® Club Dash 1 – (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 6 starting positions of A-feature) – 1. 49-Brad Sweet [1] ; 2. 27-Greg Hodnett [4] ; 3. 2-Shane Stewart [2] ; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart [5] ; 5. 5-David Gravel [3] ; 6. 9-Daryn Pittman [6]

Craftsman® Club Dash 2 – (6 Laps – Top finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 1B-Dale Blaney [1] ; 2. 41-Jason Johnson [3] ; 3. 10H-Chad Kemenah [2] ; 4. 21-Brian Brown [5] ; 5. 83-Joey Saldana [4] ; 6. 2L-Danny Lasoski [6]

C-Main – (10 Laps – Top 2 finishers transfer to the B-feature) – 1. 67-Tanner Thorson [1] [-]; 2. 23-Trey Starks [6] [-]; 3. 3G-Carson Macedo [3] [$150]; 4. 94-Ryan Smith [2] [$150]; 5. 2MX-Hunter Schuerenburg [4] [$150]; 6. 17B-Bill Balog [13] [$125]; 7. 77X-Parker Price-Miller [8] [$125]; 8. 23C-Tyler Courtney [7] [$125]; 9. 25-Tyler Bear [9] [$125]; 10. A67-Cale Conley [14] [$125]; 11. 17W-Kerry Madsen [5] [$125]; 12. 27G-Jay Galloway [16] [$125]; 13. 23M-Lance Moss [10] [$125]; 14. 91-Chad Boespflug [12] [$125]; 15. 13-Clyde Knipp [17] [$125]; 16. OO-Dane Lorenc [11] [$125]; 17. 4S-Danny Smith [15] [$125]

Last Chance Showdown – (12 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 18-Ian Madsen [1] [-]; 2. 19-Paige Polyak [3] [-]; 3. 71M-Dave Blaney [4] [-]; 4. 49X-Tim Shaffer [2] [-]; 5. 7S-Jason Sides [5] [-]; 6. 7-Paul McMahan [6] [-]; 7. 99-Brady Bacon [12] [$300]; 8. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [8] [$250]; 9. W20-Greg Wilson [13] [$225]; 10. 49H-Doug Esh [9] [$200]; 11. 4-Cole Duncan [10] [$200]; 12. 23-Trey Starks [15] [$200]; 13. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [11] [$200]; 14. 1A-Jac Haudenschild [14] [$200]; 15. 67-Tanner Thorson [16] [$200]; 16. 11K-Kraig Kinser [7] [$200]