From Bill W, image courtesy of Alan Holland / hoseheads.com
When the dust settled on East Bay Raceway Park last Saturday night, it was Wayne Johnson who was crowned at the Ronald Laney Memorial “King of the 360’s! The win paid him a cool $14,500, as he took over the lead with two laps to go in Glenn Styres #0x. The next step comes this weekend in ASCS-Gulf South action in south Texas as he has secured a ride n the Channing Zierolf Motorsports #c41 for events on Friday and Saturday.
In Thursday and Friday prelims at East Bay near Tampa, Florida, Wayne earned enough points to lock himself into the first three rows of Saturday’s finale. “We only had hot laps, and after that session, we were fourth quick out of the six,” he says of his mindset going into the feature. “I was too tight, so I thought the car would come to me eventually. It was hard not to mess with it, but we didn’t and it worked out well.”
Starting outside row three, Wayne settled into the race early on. “On the first start, I went from sixth to third in the first corner,” he says. “They called that one back, and on the restart they didn’t let me do that again. We were running sixth or seventh the first ten laps or so.”
His surge continued until he was in the runner-up spot behind leader, Tim Shaffer. “I finally got by a couple cars, and on lap 20 they had a restart,” he explains. “We were fifth on that, and we got going a little better. Mark Smith blew up, putting us in fourth. We were able to pass Danny Smith and Lou Kennedy Jr. to get to second.”
His pursuit of the leader continued until Shaffer lost his motor. “I could see Shaffer out there, and I started picking up on him a bit,” says the Knoxville, Iowa driver. “I got within half a straightaway, and then I messed up in lapped traffic and he got back to a full straight. I started picking up on him again, and with two or three to go, he blew up.”
Wayne was able to hold off Jesse Hockett in the closing stages to take the crown, but understands how Shaffer feels. “I hated it for him, because I’ve been in that situation more than once the last couple of years,” says Wayne. “I was well overdue for a little luck, though. We had to pass cars to get where we were, so I don’t feel bad about it at all.”
The first couple of nights didn’t go so smoothly. “We drew the pole for the heat, but of course, it wasn’t me drawing…it was Glenn,” says Wayne of Thursday’s prelim. “We ended up winning that and got into the top eight redraw where we drew a six.”
Then mechanical gremlins hit in the feature. “We were running around there fourth and just maintaining,” he says. “The car wasn’t great. All of a sudden, the thing started missing. I couldn’t figure out what it was. On the last restart, it wouldn’t take off and we pulled out. The next morning, we looked it over and found out the spark plugs needed to be indexed. The plugs were actually hitting on the pistons.”
Friday went a little better, but a tenth place run in the feature was all that could be mustered. “Friday we really tried to throw some stuff at the car and we messed it up,” says Wayne. “Shaffer drove by me from the back (in the heat). That’s when I knew we weren’t good enough to win, so we kept messing with it. We ended up running tenth (from 14th in the feature), but we were bad and got lapped.”
Saturday, perseverance paid off. This will be the first time Wayne has paired with Zierolf, who is a new car owner. Sponsors on the #c41 include Jaztek Services and STW. They will campaign an Eagle with Shark power. Friday’s race will be at Golden Triangle Raceway Park near Beaumont, and Saturday’s event will be held at Battleground Speedway in Highlands, Texas. Both will pay $3,000 to win.
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!
Logan Albright asks: Is it tough in a way when you are locked in like you were Saturday, and don’t have time on the track outside of hot laps?
Wayne answers: I definitely prefer to be locked in, but I want to hot lap as late as possible. A lot of times it’s hard to get your car as good as it would be if you ran all night though with track time. Normally, you get about two hot laps and you’re done. But on the other hand, if you’re locked in, you have some good numbers put together.
Wayne’s Fast Facts
Wayne waited until the last night in Florida to run his win streak in the “Sunshine State” to four straight years. The wins have been evenly split between 410 and 360 competition. In 2007, he won with USCS at the North Florida Speedway in Lake City. He beat the All Stars (with plenty of WoO in the house) at Volusia Speedway Park in 2008, beat the All Stars again at East Bay in 2009, before winning the “King of the 360’s” this year.
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!
“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!