R.J. Johnson Leads USAC Southwest Sprints to “50th Western World Championships”

R.J. Johnson. (Patrick Shaw / Backed In Photography)

R.J. Johnson. (Patrick Shaw / Backed In Photography)
From Lance Jennings

(November 1, 2017) — This Friday, November 3rd, the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars will battle for two nights of action at Arizona Speedway’s “50th Annual Western World Championships.” Located within ET Motopark in San Tan Valley and promoted by Jonah Trussel, the season finale will also feature the AMSOIL USAC National and USAC/CRA Sprint Cars. On both days, the Pit gates will open at 12:00pm, spectator gates will open at 3:00pm, and racing is scheduled to start at 7:00pm. The event will be live on pay-per-view at www.speedshifttv.com and a special autograph session will be held on Saturday at 4:00pm. The festivities will begin on Thursday with an open practice from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. For more information, visit the track’s website at www.arizonaspeedway.net or call 480.926.6688.

NOTICE TO COMPETITORS: Arizona Speedway is mandating that all cars for the Western World Championships have unaltered mufflers that maintain 100db @ 100ft.

Noted as an Arizona tradition since 1968 when Bob Cleberg took the checkered flags at the Manzanita Speedway, the “Western World Championships” has been a premier event for sprint car racing. While the headlining divisions and host tracks may have changed, some of the most notable names in the sport have claimed victory at the Western World. Hall of Fame racers like Jan Opperman, Rick Ferkel, Ron Shuman, Bubby Jones, Lealand McSpadden, Sammy Swindell, and Steve Kinser have stood atop the podium. The non-winged 360 sprints have been a part of the Western World history dating back to 1991 when Wayne Bennet claimed the Manzanita victory. Last year, Chris Windom claimed the preliminary feature and “The Macho Man” Brady Bacon added his name to the 360 winner’s list.

To date, Arizona Speedway has held thirty USAC SouthWest Sprint Car events. “The Magic Man” Mike Martin won the April 13, 2013 debut and R.J. Johnson leads all drivers with sixteen victories. A complete series win list at the San Tan Valley oval is at the end of this release.

Heading to the Western World, R.J. Johnson (Laveen, Arizona) has a 123-point lead over the competition. Racing Bobby Martin’s #51 Martin Family Auto Museum / Pecon Builders Sherman, Johnson ran second to Kevin Thomas Jr. last Saturday at Casa Grande. To date, the four-time champion has seven feature wins, eleven heat race victories, five Beaver Stripes Passing Master Awards, one semi-main win, three hard charger awards, twenty top-10 finishes, and 198 feature laps led on the season. R.J. leads all drivers with fifty-one series wins and will be looking to cap off his championship bid with a 360 Western World victory.

“Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Arizona) ranks second in the chase for the championship. Driving the Massey Motorsports’ #50 RSS Industries / Rod End Supply RSS, Davis scored third at Casa Grande’s Central Arizona Speedway. At press time, the five time Arizona Sprint Car champion has seven feature wins, nine heat race victories, six Beaver Stripes Passing Master Awards, one hard charger award, nineteen top-10 finishes, and 161 feature laps led. “Chargin” Charles has twenty-one series wins and will have his sights on his first triumph of the 360 Western World Championships.

Shon Deskins (Waddell, Arizona) sits third in the USAC SouthWest point chase. Racing Bill Richards’ #7 Just Racin’ LLC / Spike Chassis entry, Deskins finished sixth in the Casa Grande 30-lap feature. As this writing goes to press, the 2017 NMMRA Sprint Car Champion has two heat race victories, one Beaver Stripes Passing Master Award, two hard charger awards, nineteen top-10 finishes, and 26 feature laps led on the season. Shon will be looking to earn his second USAC SouthWest feature win at the 360 Western World.

“The Bull” Tye Mihocko (Peoria, Arizona) is fourth in the championship point standings. Piloting the family owned #5 Property Solutions by Dave Wilson / Futuristic Designs Spike, Mihocko charged from fourteenth to clime ninth at Central Arizona Speedway. To date, the young driver has six heat race victories, two Beaver Stripes Passing Master Awards, one semi-main win, two hard charger awards, fifteen top-10 finishes, and 19 feature laps led to his credit. “The Bull” will have his sights on earning his first career USAC SouthWest win at Arizona Speedway.

“The Magic Man” Mike Martin (Yuma, Arizona) has climbed to fifth in the USAC SouthWest standings. Racing his #16 Sherwin-Williams / Ultimate Offroad Maxim, Martin scored fourth in the Casa Grande main event. At press time, Mike has posted four heat race victories, fifteen top-10 finishes, and 3 feature laps led on the season. The former “Hall of Fame Classic” winner will be looking to add the “360 Western World Championships” to his resume.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Nick Aiuto, Chris Bonneau, Michael Curtis, Matt Lundy, Stevie Sussex, Landon Cling, Jeff Lowery, Andy Reinbold, “The Radio Flyer” Bruce St. James, Brent Yarnal, Cody Sickles, “The Real American” Matt Rossi, and many more.

Arizona Speedway is located at 47800 N. Ironwood Road in Queen Creek, just five miles south of Mesa. To get to the track, exit Ironwood Drive on US 60, then head four miles south. On Friday, General Admission tickets are $10 Kids, $20 Adults, $35 All Access with pit pass, Kids (6 and under) are FREE. Premium Seating (top 8 rows) are $10 Kids (6 and under), $15 Kids (7-12), $25 Adults, $40 All Access with pit pass. On Saturday, General Admission tickets are $10 Kids, $25 Adults, $35 All Access with pit pass, Kids (6 and under) are FREE. Premium Seating (top 8 rows) are $10 (kids 6 and under), $15 Kids (7-12), $30 Adults, $40 All Access with pit pass. For more event and ticket information, visit www.arizonaspeedway.net or call 480.926.6688.

The Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series thanks AMSOIL, Hoosier Tire, and Beaver Stripes for their support. For more information on the series, visit www.southwestsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook.