March 14, 2012 – Wayne Johnson racked up a pair of top five finishes in the Southwest, while taking in some history on the road as well this week. A lover of the history of the “Wild West”, Wayne and crew took in the sights in Tombstone, Arizona while on the way home from a two-night stint at Cocopah Speedway near Yuma. This weekend, he will tangle in Texas with the ASCS-Gulf South region in Beaumont and Baytown.
Friday, March 10 saw the Lucas Oil ASCS National Series tackle the bullring near Yuma. Wayne went from seventh to fifth in the heat. “Friday night at Yuma was the best that our car has been this year,” he says. “There wasn’t much passing in the heat. We were riding around the top, and I was lucky to get by Zach Chappell and Gary Wright early.”
Passing points yielded the 12th starting spot in the feature for the Knoxville, Iowa driver. He would advance to finish fourth and lock himself into Saturday’s finale. “We started rolling around there pretty good,” he says. “I was able to move up to third at one time after getting by Jason Johnson. We started racing each other, and that let the leaders get away from us. After getting by him, I thought our car was good enough to win. We were just battling too much and the leaders got away from us. It was just two racers not wanting the other to beat them.”
Wayne drew a four for Saturday’s finale and started outside of row two. “They tried to prep the racetrack and it probably would have been better had they just left it alone,” he says of Saturday’s run. “They dug it up and moved some dirt around to avoid it taking rubber. I don’t think it would have. They didn’t water it, and it was a hell of a mess. There was a lot of stuff lying on the racetrack. The first few laps were like running in a plowed field really.”
The Wayne Johnson Racing #77x maintained with a fifth place finish. “The racetrack just never cleaned up,” says Wayne. “The setup we had on Friday just didn’t work on Saturday. Nothing would stick to the racetrack. It was like ice. We had a left rear tire that shrunk on us too, and that threw our stagger off. Our car hasn’t been good, so to finish fifth…I can’t wait until we do feel right.”
Wayne emerged from the weekend second place in the point race, just 31 points behind Jason Johnson. “We’re after a championship, that’s for sure,” he says. “For our car to be as bad as it has the last two weeks, and to come out of there with four top five finishes…I’m feeling pretty good about that. We definitely have to work on our stuff to get it better. To win a championship, you need to win races.”
What will need to be done to get the car right? “Our car just hasn’t been good enough to win,” says Wayne. “I can’t put my finger on it. It just hasn’t been driving forward. This is an old car. It’s been around two or three years now. We wanted to start with it because it has already been dinged up, and we didn’t want to take a new car to the desert, because of the rocks and stuff that you get into. We knew going in that it had been tweaked a little bit, and it’s been on the jig. I thought we’d be o.k. We’re going to try it again this weekend in Texas, but if it isn’t any better, we’ll break out a new one.”
This weekend, Texas ASCS-Gulf South events will be held on Friday at the Golden Triangle Raceway Park in Beaumont, before moving to the Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas. Both events will pay $3,000 to the winner.
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Tell us about your Trip to Tombstone…
It was a good time. I’m a big Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, all the western guys fan. I used to watch the Westerns with my Dad. I’d been planning to go to Tombstone, and this trip we were able to. (Seth) Bergman’s group went too. We got to see the reenactment of the O.K. Corral gunfight. We got to see a lot of history that was pretty cool. We all took our picture dressed up, which was kind of cool too. It was definitely a cool little town…definitely touristy, but I would recommend it if you haven’t been there. I wish I could have taken my girls, but I’d like to go back.
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 won the Bud Shootout at US36 Raceway near Cameron, Missouri on June 6, 2003. He registered second quick behind Terry McCarl, who turned the first sub-ten second lap in the history of the high-banked 3/8 mile (9.99). Wayne held off the rest of the field in the feature, driving the Vielhauer #12x. Jesse Hockett was second, followed by Colin Northway, Jesse Giannetto, Skip Jackson and Brian Brown.
Partner of the Week – Partner of the Week – Smiley’s Race Products
Smileys Racing Products and Hoosier Tire Southwest have been in the racing business for 30 years in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. Visit Smiley’s, either in Kennedale, at the showroom store in Mesquite, or at the racetracks. All employees at Smiley’s Racing Products and Hoosier Tire Southwest are directly involved with race teams either as owners, drivers, pit crew members etc. What this means to you our customers is racing advice that has been tested on the track first, and then they pass their findings on to the customer. From parts and tires to complete race cars, Smiley’s Racing Products and Hoosier Tire Southwest is ready to help you get to the checkered flag first. All aspects of their business can be seen at www.SmileysRacing.com. Click on catalog and put your information in and you will be sent a catalog free of charge.
“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!