Johnson Competes In First 360 Nationals and Front Row Challenge
PETERSEN MEDIA: Over the last month, Chase Johnson has been in the Midwest with his Van Dyke Motorsports team as he prepared to take part in his first Knoxville 360 Nationals and first Front Row Challenge.
“The Nationals did not go the way we had hoped, as we really struggled during time trials as we had a late draw, but the team worked very hard, and I thought we raced okay,” Chase Johnson said.
Hitting the track on for qualifying on Friday night, Johnson went out towards the end of qualifications, and timed his Lucas Oil/K&N/JRI Shocks No. 5h machine in 36 fastest with 56 cars checked into the pit area.
Lining up in the fourth row of his heat race, the Penngrove, CA driver searched the speedway trying to find some clean air to move forward, but he would finish in the ninth spot, and move into the C Main.
“Big tracks are tough to start that far back on and move forward,” Johnson said. “It is definitely not like California where you have a legitimate shot at transferring from the rear.”
Starting on the pole of the C, Johnson got in the clean air, and put on quite a display, as he walked away with the win, earning a spot in the B main, where he would like the NAAKE Suspension/Rodgers Racing Engines/FSR Radiators entry up in the 21st position.
Continuing to get comfortable racing on the big ½ mile in traffic, Johnson was able to make some moves, as he worked his way up to a 16th place finish in the B.
“We had a car that raced well, but we just got into such a deep hole after time trials, it was hard to make up ground,” he added.
Saturday night saw Johnson start his night off in fifth row of the D Main, and Johnson was able work his way forward and get into the seventh position, and earn his way into the C main, where he started in the 12th row.
From his 23rd starting spot, Johnson did what he could in just 12 laps, though his first 360 Nationals would come to close with a 16th place finish in the C.
“I wish we could have time trials back, but it is an element to these big races that we have to be a lot better at,” Johnson said. “I can’t thank the Van Dyke team for working hard all week, and staying behind me.”
Monday night saw Johnson cut his first laps at the Southern Iowa Speedway as he did battle in the Front Row Challenge.
Using the ASCS format, pill draw lined up the heat races, and a high draw lined Johnson up in the tail end of his heat race.
On the big flat ½ mile in Oskaloosa, IA, Johnson would pick up one spot in a non-stop event, as his sixth place finish would line him up seventh in the B main.
With the B Main too going non stop, Johnson would finish eighth, and his first Front Row Challenge would come to a close.
“Monday was a product of the pill draw, and more inexperience,” he added. “Like Knoxville, it was tough to make up ground from the back, and with some of the top drivers in the country being at both the Front Row Challenge and the 360 Nationals, things are even more difficult. I had a blast out in the Midwest for the last month, and can’t thank everyone who made this possible.”
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-21, Wins-0, Top 5’s-1, Top 10’s-5
ON TAP: Johnson and the Van Dyke Motorsports team will now make their way back to California as they are scheduled to return to action on September 12th at the Santa Maria Speedway with the King of the West Series.
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