From Lonnie Wheatley
MESQUITE, Texas (May 7, 2011) – The reigning Lucas Oil ASCS National champion took the lead away from current ASCS Gulf South points leader George White on the 15th round and then checked out to post his third overall ASCS feature win of the year and 92nd overall of his career.
After starting from the lucky 13th position, Johnson ultimately took the checkered flag over a top-five that was heavy on passing with Matt Covington rallying from 19th to second, pole starter White in third, 14th starter Aaron Reutzel fourth and 23rd starter Joe Wood, Jr., rounding out the top five.
Starting from the pole position, White outgunned Michelle Decker for the lead at the drop of the green flag with fourth-starter Travis Rilat taking second away from the Guthrie, Oklahoma lady racer by the fifth round.
As Rilat reeled in White for the point, Johnson was on the move aboard the Don Ott-powered Haynes No. 41 Maxim, making his way into the top five by the fifth circuit after a pair of early cautions and then moving past Dale Wester and Decker to claim third by the tenth circuit.
Seeking a return to victory lane, Rilat turned the heat up on White and slid into the lead in turns one and two only to lose power down the backstretch, ducking into the infield with race-ending woes.
Johnson took up the chase for the lead and, two laps after a caution for debris in turn three, disposed of White for the lead. Johnson opened up a straightaway advantage in short order and held it to the stripe despite traffic in the final circuits.
Behind him, the battle for runner-up honors over the final ten circuits was a wild one between White, Covington and Reutzel. Covington had worked into the top five by the time Rilat was forced pitside and took third away from Decker on a lap 14 restart with Reutzel up to fourth a lap later.
The trio diced for the position with Covington finally slipping past White on the backstretch on the final lap to take runner-up honors, escaping the night atop both the ASCS Lone Star and ASCS Sooner point charts.
White settled for the show position, with leading Lucas Oil ASCS National Rookie of the Year contender Reutzel and 2009 ASCS Sooner champ Wood, Jr., rounding out the top five.
Andy Shouse was sixth, with Claud Estes, 19th-starter Justin Melton, rookie shoe Brady Demeree and Logan Payne completing the top ten.
Shouse, Decker, Rilat and White topped heat race action for the 38-car field, with Covington and J.P. Bailey winning the “B” Mains.
Defending ASCS Lone Star champion Eric Baldaccini flipped in turn one on the opening lap of the fourth heat and then missed the cut from “B” Main action. Jesse Frazier and Aaron Berryhill both flipped down the frontstretch exiting turn four a lap into the second “B” Main, with Berryhill transported to a local hospital with possible leg injuries.
Reigning ASCS Sooner Region champion Sean McClelland also flipped when a parts failure in the final corner of the second “B” Main while in a transfer position sent him into the wall. McClelland was uninjured.
The Oil Medics ASCS Lone Star Region versus American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Results from Devil’s Bowl Speedway:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 36-Andy Shouse, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 11x-Justin Melton, 4. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 5. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 6. 45-J.P. Bailey, 7. 45x-Martin Edwards, 8. 55-Donnie Ray Crawford, 9. 15d-Brady Demeree, 10. 35-Rick Wright, Jr.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 7-Michelle Decker, 2. 54-Evan Pardo, 3. 27-Jesse Frazier, 4. 76-John Ricketts, 5. 14b-Robert Byrom, 6. 11-Jeffrey Newell, 7. 110-Cameron Hagin, 8. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 9. 97-Aaron Berryhill, 10. 6-Justin Spoerl.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 29-Travis Rilat, 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 3. 1x-Gary Taylor, 4. 74e-Claud Estes, 5. 1-Sean McClelland, 6. 95-Matt Covington, 7. 40-Junior Jenkins, 8. 14-Michael Lang, 9. 31L-Lee Little.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. X-George White, 2. 12-Dale Wester, 3. 2-Logan Payne, 4. 20-Chad Wilson, 5. 22-Koby Barksdale, 6. 61-Danny Jennings, 7. 33-Mark Huddleston, 8. 15b-Michael Brown, 9. 4-Eric Baldaccini.
First “B” Main (10 Laps): 1. 95-Matt Covington, 2. 11x-Justin Melton, 3. 14-Michael Lang, 4. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 5. 4-Eric Baldaccini, 6. 61j-Danny Jennings, 7. 40-Junior Jenkins, 8. 15b-Michael Brown, 9. 35-Rick Wright, Jr. DNS: 11-Jeffrey Newell, 33-Mark Huddleston.
Second “B” Main (10 Laps): 1. 45-J.P. Bailey, 2. 55-Donnie Ray Crawford, 3. 22-Koby Barksdale, 4. 15d-Brady Demeree, 5. 31L-Lee Little, 6. 1-Sean McClelland, 7. 110-Cameron Hagin, 8. 27-Jesse Frazier, 9. 45x-Martin Edwards, 10. 97-Aaron Berryhill. DNS: 6-Justin Spoerl.
“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 95-Mattt Covington, 3. X-George White, 4. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 5. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 6. 36-Andy Shouse, 7. 74e-Claud Estes, 8. 11x-Justin Melton, 9. 15d-Brady Demeree, 10. 2-Logan Payne, 11. 7-Michelle Decker, 12. 76-John Ricketts, 13. 20-Chad Wilson, 14. 1x-Gary Taylor, 15. 22-Koby Barksdale, 16. 29-Travis Rilat, 17. 12-Dale Wester, 18. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 19. 45-J.P. Bailey, 20. 14b-Robert Byrom, 21. 54-Evan Pardo, 22. 55-Donnie Ray Crawford, 23. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 24. 14-Michael Lang (DNS).
The Oil Medics ASCS Lone Star Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Matt Covington 408, 2. Claud Estes 363, 3. Eric Baldaccini 333, 4. Martin Edwards 319, 5. Justin Melton 300, 6. Junior Jenkins 296, 7. (tie) John Ricketts and Evan Pardo 288, 9. Michael Lang 284, 10. (tie) Robert Byrom and Chad Wilson 277.
American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Matt Covington 150, 2. Joe Wood, Jr. 142, 3. Andy Shouse 135, 4. Claud Estes 130, 5. Brady Demeree 125, 6. Michelle Decker 122, 7. Gary Taylor 119, 8. Koby Barksdale 116, 9. Tony Bruce, Jr. 113, 10. J.P. Bailey 110.