PETERSEN MEDIA: As the Summer months heat up, Chase Johnson will begin to visit tracks he has never seen before in his racing career, and he kicked that off this past week as he ventured to Oregon and took part in the ASCS Northwest Region’s Speedweek, and picked up two Top-10 finishes.
“I learned a ton on our speedweek trip, and I can’t thank Harley Van Dyke and the entire team for their hard work and giving me this opportunity to travel,” Johnson said.
Kicking speedweek off in Yreka, CA, Johnson started and finished second in his heat race, putting him in the 10th starting spot in the feature event.
On a track that was very racy, Johnson was able to work his way up into the seventh spot, where he ran a majority of the race, but had issues with lapped traffic.
Coming to take the checkered flag, Johnson was on his way to a nice finish when a slower car got out of shape coming to the checkered flag, and Johnson took action to avoid it, but in doing so he stalled the car, and ended up with a 15th place finish.
“It was really a tough break at the end of the night on Sunday,” he explained. “We had a good car but had a minor hiccup on the last lap.”
Monday night Johnson visited the Southern Oregon Speedway near Medford, OR, and after lining up fourth in his heat race, the Penngrove, CA driver finished in the second spot, putting him ninth in the feature event.
After an opening lap red, the race then preceded to go non stop for 30-laps, and Johnson was able to carve his way forward aboard the Lucas Oil/K&N/Rodgers Racing Engines No. 5H machine.
Getting into lapped traffic, Johnson admittedly played it too conservative after the issues he had the night before, and gave up a couple of spots he earned early in the race but still crossed the stripe in the ninth position.
“We had a really good racecar in Medford, and with the race going non stop, traffic was a huge factor,” he added. “I had issues in traffic the night before, so I was a little to conservative and gave up a couple of spots.”
Visiting Coos Bay Speedway on Tuesday night, 30 cars checked into the pits, and a fourth place heat race finish put Johnson in his first B Main of the week.
Taking advantage of his front row starting spot, Johnson would take off and win the race, transferring him into the feature event, where he lined up in the 17th spot.
Taking a liking to the tight confines of Coos Bay, Johnson quickly worked his way up into the 12th spot when the feature event went green.
Continuing to move forward, Johnson would get collected with a spinning car, forcing his machine into the work area for repairs.
With limited time, Harley Van Dyke and the crew fixed what they could on Johnson’s machine, and got him back on track.
Back on track, Johnson still had some bent up parts, and nursed his car home to a 17th place finish.
“It was a shame we got collected,” he said. “We were really fast in the B, and at the start of the A. Harley and the guys did a fantastic job of fixing what they could so I could at least get some laps under my belt.”
Heading north to the Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, OR on Wednesday night, Johnson started third in his heat race, and wasn’t able to get up to the high side of the speedway when the race went green, and he slipped to the fourth spot, putting him in the B main.
Picking up his second B Main win in as many nights, Johnson again lined up 17th, and again showed serious speed early in the feature event.
Running the high, scary side of the speedway Johnson moved rapidly as he found himself up in the seventh spot, when the checkered flag flew on the race.
“They called the race early due to curfew, and I was a little bummed because I think we had a Top-5 car, but I was certainly happy with the run that we had from 17th.”
With a scheduled day off on Thursday night, Johnson and the Van Dyke Motorsports team were back in action on Friday night at the Cottage Grove Speedway, where a third place finish in heat race action put Johnson in the seventh row of the feature event.
On the third lap, Johnson lost the handle and spun his machine out, putting him in the back of the pack, and the race then went from green to checkered, with Johnson able to work his way back up to a 14th place finish.
“14th was not the finish that we had hoped for, but with that many green flag laps being ran, the field spread out, and we got what we could,” he explained.
Saturday night brought the end of Speedweek, and for Johnson, it was not the way he wanted it to end.
During warm up laps prior to lining up for his heat race, Johnson got into the front stretch wall, and took a nasty tumble that he walked away from, but his night was over as his car was heavily damaged.
“It was pretty embarrassing going out like that,” Johnson said. “I hated to destroy a car like that, and honestly I’m not sure what happened. I think it was a good week where I learned a ton, and I am very excited to get back east and check out even more new tracks.”
The Van Dyke Motorsports team would like to thank Lucas Oil, K&N Products, JRI Shocks, NAAKE Suspension, Rodgers Racing Engines, FSR Radiators, for their support during the year.
Chase Johnson would like to thank Johnny Franklin Mufflers, Newman Freeman Racing, Pit Stop USA, Napa Auto Parts, Flowmaster, Shifty Illusions, Don’s Truck Repair, VSR, and IWear for their support through the year.
2014 BY THE NUMBERS: Races-12, Wins-0, Top 5’s-1, Top 10’s-4
ON TAP: Johnson and the Van Dyke Motorsports team will now head to Nebraska where they return to action on July 17th at the I-80 Speedway.
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