From Bill W, image courtesy of Hosehead
You need a combination of luck and a good car to finish on top at the Chili Bowl. For Wayne Johnson, the missing part of the formula was luck. A series of maladies saw him finish back in the C main on Saturday night. After finishing third in a strong field this morning in Australia’s President’s Cup, however, he is looking forward to the rest of the week driving for Brett Smith in the #USA39.
Qualifying last Thursday in Tulsa, Wayne’s tough luck started in his heat race. He rebounded in his qualifier to secure a spot in the night’s feature. “We drew a 97 and started in the back (9th),” he says of the heat. “I got into the infield there and spun out. The car was running good, but after we did that we finished sixth. We were rolling in the qualifier and went from ninth to third in it.”
Starting in row six, Wayne started moving forward and was in a battle in the top ten when he made contact with another competitor. “We were good in the feature,” he says. “We were racing with Jesse Hockett there for a while. We got together with someone and the left rear tire went down. I went and got the left rear tire changed and it was a different stagger.”
The stagger threw the setup off. “Something wasn’t right with the car, but then the right rear went down, and we had to go change it again,” says Wayne. “We ended up fifteenth in the end.”
The finish put him in row five for one of Saturday’s C mains. He quickly moved up to a transfer spot, but on a late restart, he hit the cone and
had to restart at the tail. “I barely hit it, but I hit it,” admits Wayne. “You want to stay nice and tight to the cone on the restarts, because someone behind you might see daylight otherwise and dive under you into one. Those cars are funny about shoving the nose down the straightaways and it started to do that. I tried to correct it and went too far.”
The car was good, but with little time left, Wayne settled for fifteenth. “That (cone) happens, and what can you do?” he says. “You just go to the back. If we wouldn’t have had the problems in the prelim, we would have been further up the ladder. The car was good and the motor was really hitting.”
This morning (Wednesday night in Australia), Wayne qualified 18th in a stout 33-car field at the President’s Cup at Avalon Raceway near Geelong, Victoria. His heat efforts qualified him for a front row start and he finished third behind Brooke Tatnell and James McFadden. Before leaving the U.S., he talked about going to Australia. “I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s been a couple months since we’ve raced in a sprint car. There should be a real comfort level racing with Brett again down there.”
Meanwhile, Wayne is looking for opportunities here at home for 2010. Look him up at the Chili Bowl, or e-mail him at WayneJohnsonRacing@yahoo.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 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!
Tom Williams asks: What has been your experience with the fans in Australia?
Wayne answers: They really appreciate it when we (Americans) go down there. That makes it enjoyable for them and for us. They really treat us
royally and greet us with open arms.
Wayne’s Fast Facts
Wayne’s run at the President’s Cup gives him three top five feature finishes in only five feature appearances in Australia. He recorded a win at the Perth Motorplex in Kwinana Beach, Western Australia back in 2004. Indiana’s Paul May was second ahead of Jeff Leisk, Michael Figliomeni and Mick Goode.
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 email@example.com, 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!
“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!