From Bill W, Ron Skinner Photo
March 9, 2011 – Teaming with Travis Rilat and the TSR #29 at Golden Triangle Raceway Park in Beaumont, Texas last Friday proved to be the remedy Wayne Johnson needed to start off his sprint car season in good fashion. After leading much of the race, he lost some handling and finished in the runner-up spot. Saturday action in Highlands, Texas was rained out. The Knoxville, Iowa driver will team with Rilat again on March 25 and 26 at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas.
The bullring was plenty heavy last Friday night. “It was pretty sticky out there,” says Wayne. “We were a little tight at first, but the car really came in. I was really excited about it. You just never know when you are getting into someone else’s stuff until you hot lap. The car ran beautifully.”
It was the first time that Wayne had driven a XXX Chassis with Shark power, but he took to it and finished second in his heat after starting fourth. “We really just tinkered a little bit with the car during the night,” he says. “We really didn’t have to do much at all to it.”
Starting fourth in the main event, Wayne was quickly into second behind leader, Sean McClelland. A pair of red flags in the first eight laps slowed things. It appeared Wayne would pass for the lead after the second and final slowdown on lap eight. “There was plenty of traction to the end,” he says. “It widened up a little, but only in certain spots. I was working Sean over pretty well. We were also waiting for that thing to widen out the first ten laps or so.”
With the final 22 laps going non-stop, Wayne wasted little time getting by McClelland. It was smooth sailing until the late going. “I just had to pick my spot, and finally we got by him,” he says of his pass for the lead. “Once we got by, they said we were pulling away. We noticed a problem about seven or eight laps to go. I really got rolled up, and the car just wouldn’t turn the corner. Then I started shaking it, and when you do that, you really lose momentum.”
Sam Hafertepe Jr. pounced on the opportunity, relegating Wayne to a runner-up finish. “We found out that the left rear bleeder wasn’t put in,” he admits. “By the end, we had 8 ½ pounds of air in it. They called me on Saturday and told me the right rear tire had a hole in it too, so we had that working against us. It was disappointing we didn’t win, but you can’t win them all. The way I look at it, this was really the first race that I haven’t worried about my leg since the accident (last July). It was a great test run.”
Wayne felt a sense of accomplishment after a long rehab, and a respect for Rilat, who has been recovering from burns suffered a few days after Wayne’s accident. “Running on the treadmill and working in the gym has really paid off,” he says. “I’m looking forward to getting back down there to run the Devil’s Bowl with Travis. He is doing awesome too. It’s just impressive. I know what I went through, and I just can’t imagine what he has gone through. His spirits are great, he’s going to the gym every morning, and he’s doing everything he can do to get back.”
Wayne is still looking for a permanent home in a sprint car. If you would like to inquire about a partnership with Wayne, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big Sale on T-Shirts!
Wayne Johnson Racing has a variety of 2010 apparel and it is ALL on sale! $10 for t-shirts, hats, women and kids’ shirts and more! E-mail WayneJohnsonRacing@yahoo.com to place your order!
Buy Your Outlaw Wings from Wayne
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”!
To learn more about Wayne and the team, log on to www.WayneJohnsonRacing.com!
Alex O’Connor asks: You’ve raced a lot with Travis Rilat. Is there a race or two that stands out to you when you think of racing with him?
Wayne answers: To be honest, I really don’t have one that stands out. We’ve raced so much with each other. I just know that he’s always one of the top guys that you have to beat. He’s definitely tough.
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!
Wayne’s Fast Facts
Wayne’s first two wins at the Devil’s Bowl came exactly one year apart, and both saw Garry Lee Maier in the bridesmaid position. On June 18, 1996 he beat Garry, Danny Wood, Bobby Davis Jr. and Terry Gray to the stripe, and on June 18, 1997 he bested Garry, Gary Wright, Sean Michael and Glenn Forbes.
“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!
To receive “Wednesday’s with Wayne”, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Wayne” in the subject line.
Wayne would like to thank the following for making this possible: E-Rate Complete, Brett Smith Motorsports, The Oil Medics, Outlaw Wings, Stone Mountain, Butlerbuilt, Hoosier, Schoenfeld Headers and Cooper Racing Enterprises.