East Bay Winter Nationals Sprint

"Ragin' Cajun" Crowned King of the 360's at East Bay


Lonnie Wheatley, TAMPA, Fla. (February 2, 2008) – Following on the heels of runner-up finishes in O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National points over each of the past two years, Jason Johnson kicked off his pursuit of the series' 2008 championship with a resonant victory in the Tenth Annual "King of the 360's" Nationals finale at East Bay Raceway Park's 32nd Annual Winter Nationals.


Hailing from Eunice, LA, "The Ragin' Cajun" paced all 40 laps of Saturday night's Ronald Laney Memorial to notch the $10,500 triumph, with the posted $10,000 winner's share bolstered by a $500 bonus from C&B Mushroom Farms.


"I'm proud of this win, this is one of the big races," Johnson commented after the victory aboard Lanny Row's The Shop Diesel Service/Custom Equipment Design No. 41 Eagle.  "Lapped traffic was my biggest worry there for a while, you just never how close someone is behind you."


After finishes of sixth on Thursday and then second in Friday night's preliminary action, Johnson gridded Saturday night's feature field outside the front row alongside reigning O'Reilly ASCoT National champion and defending race winner Gary Wright.


"We changed the car every time we hit the track this weekend, we kept adjusting on it and never had the same setup twice," Johnson explained.  "It was about perfect for the feature."


Johnson outgunned Wright for the lead at the drop of the green flag, only to have action interrupted after two laps when Greg Leonard spun in turn one and collected Matt Tiffany.  Both drivers were done for the night.


The yellow lights flickered again a lap later when Don Droud, Jr., came to a stop on the frontstretch.  Droud made a quick trip to the work area before returning to action, while Joey Saldana also ducked into the work area to replace a flat left rear tire.


Leading Wright and Friday night winner Terry McCarl on the lap four restart, Johnson set sail, opening up a half straightaway lead by the time he reached lapped traffic on the ninth lap.  Navigating heavy traffic masterfully, Johnson stretched his lead to a full straightaway by the midway point.


While the battles for position raged in his wake, Johnson finally cleared traffic on the 30th lap and found himself with open track, only to have the caution fly when Garry Lee Maier spun to a stop in turn two.


"In Australia, they take the lapped cars out on restarts, so I kinda had to stop and remind myself where I was at under that yellow," Johnson commented after his first weekend of action back in the United States after spending the past several months "Down Under".  "This is one of those times I was glad we leave the lapped cars in place here."


With four lapped cars separating the leader from his rivals on the final restart, there was no match for Johnson as he charged to the checkered flag to capture his 29th career ASCS National Tour feature win.


After starting from the pole position, four-time ASCS National champion Gary Wright held second until Terry McCarl slipped by on the fifth lap.  Wright battled back around McCarl on the 12th circuit and fought off the Iowa shoe the rest of the way to snare runner-up honors aboard the Wright-Cooper Wesmar-powered Richwood Construction/Carry All Services No. 01 Maxim.


Wright's runner-up finish along with second and third-place finishes on Thursday and Friday extended his streak of ASCS National Tour top-five feature runs to 16 in a row (tying the series record) and allowed him to escape the East Bay triple with a mere one-point lead over Jason Johnson.


Crossing the stripe on Wright's rear nerf bar, McCarl settled for show honors aboard Mark Burch's Engler Tool & Machine No. 1m Wolfweld.


Just as Wright and McCarl battled for runner-up honors throughout, second-row starters Travis Rilat and Kenny Adams diced for fourth position all the way in the 40-lapper.  Rilat finally took the position for keeps in the final laps aboard the F&J Construction No. 29 Triple-X, with Adams settling for fifth in the Don Ott-powered C&B Mushrooms/B&W Trucking No. 4a Shaw.


Zach Chappell advanced from tenth to finish sixth, with Jason Sides racing from 13th to seventh.  Maier was the final car on the lead lap in eighth, with 17th-starter Daryn Pittman and 23rd-starter Wayne Johnson completing the top ten.


Greg Leonard, Don Young, Chappell, Sides and Dave Calaman topped Saturday night's heat race action, with Chuck Swenson and Tim Shaffer winning the 12-lap "B" Mains.


The night's only red flag flew in the second "B" Main when Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Eric Baldaccini tangled with a lapped car while contending for a transfer position and tipped over in turn four.  Baldaccini's mount was reduced to scrap metal moments later when tagged by Canada's Michael Parent.  There were no injuries.


O’Reilly ASCoT East Bay Raceway Park "King of the 360's" Nationals Ronald Laney Memorial Results:


Locked in from Thursday and Friday Preliminaries (Top Six in Total Points):


01-Gary Wright (Hooks, TX), 41-Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA), 29-Travis Rilat (Forney, TX), 4a-Kenny Adams (Malabar, FL), 1m-Terry McCarl (Altoona, IA), 88-Tim Crawley (Benton, AR).


Heat Races (Top 12 in passing points to “A” Main; Balance to 2 "B" Mains)


Heat One (8 Laps):  1. 6-Greg Leonard (Apollo Beach, FL), 2. 00-Danny Martin, Jr. (Sarasota, FL), 3. 17-Samantha Taylor (Bonney Lake, WA), 4. 27-Andy Shouse (Oklahoma City, OK), 5. 13-Kathryne Minter (Bedford, TX), 6. 34-Luke Hall (Ludlow Falls, OH), 7. 6s-Mike Schroeder (Southwest Ranches, FL), 8. 21T-T.J. Luedke (Plymouth, WI).  DNS: 10-Terry Gray (Bartlett, TN).


Heat Two (8 Laps):  1. 75-Don Young (Memphis, TN), 2. 02-Gene Lasker (Tampa, FL), 3. 21-Daryn Pittman (Owasso, OK), 4. 12-Tim Kelly (Dundee, NY), 5. b4-Eric Baldaccini (Keller, TX), 6. 3bx-Danny Biasi (Mary D, PA), 7. 97-Aaron Schipper (Plymouth, WI), 8. d12-Doc Sloan (Imperial, MO), 9. 63-Josh Weller (Mertztown, PA).


Heat Three (8 Laps):  1. 50z-Zach Chappell (Talala, OK), 2. 11x-Garry Lee Maier (Cimarron, KS), 3. 19T-Matt Tiffany (Daytona Beach, FL), 4. a12-Tim Shaffer (Aliquippa, PA), 5. 18x-Adam Gordon (Suffern, NY), 6. 14-Coleman Gulick (Binghamton, NY), 7. 94-Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK), 8. 4c-Tyler Godwin (Lutz, FL), 9. 51-John Sauermilch (Elkhart Lake, WI).


Heat Four (8 Laps):  1. 7s-Jason Sides (Bartlett, TN), 2. 91-Don Droud, Jr. (Lincoln, NE), 3. 3-Sport Allen (Pinellas Park, FL), 4. 15c-Anthony Cain (Fairfax, VT), 5. 11s-Brian Smith (Mooresville, NC), 6. 79-Dakotah Stephens (Brandon, FL), 7. 25-Michael Parent (Quebec, CAN), 8. 8x-Chris Williams (Memphis, TN).


Heat Five (8 Laps):  1. 5-Dave Calaman (Carlisle, PA), 2. X-Chuck Swenson (Watertown, SD), 3. 2-Joey Saldana (Brownsburg, IN), 4. 93-Bob Schaeffer (New Castle, CO), 5. 3x-Brian Maddox (Brandon, FL), 6. 17b-Ryan Bickett (Ramona, SD), 7. 29T-Leigh Thomas (Duluth, MN), 8. 00T-Thomas Selhorst (Clearwater, FL).


"B" Mains – Top 3 From Each Advance to “A” Main


First "B" Feature (12 Laps):  1. X-Chuck Swenson (Watertown, SD), 2. 17-Samantha Taylor (Bonney Lake, WA), 3. 94-Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK), 4. 15c-Anthony Cain (Fairfax, VT), 5. 3x-Brian Maddox (Brandon, FL), 6. 6s-Mike Schroeder (Southwest Ranches, FL), 7. 12-Tim Kelly (Dundee, NY), 8. 34-Luke Hall (Ludlow Falls, OH), 9. 93-Bob Schaeffer (New Castle, CO), 10. 8x-Chris Williams (Memphis, TN), 11. 13-Kathryne Minter (Bedford, TX), 12. 29T-Leigh Thomas (Duluth, MN), 13. 18x-Adam Gordon (Suffern, NY), 14. d12-Doc Sloan (Imperial, MO), 15. 63-Josh Weller (Mertztown, PA).  DNS: 10-Terry Gray (Bartlett, TN).


Second "B" Feature (12 Laps):  1. a12-Tim Shaffer (Aliquippa, PA), 2. 19T-Matt Tiffany (Daytona Beach, FL), 3. 27-Andy Shouse (Oklahoma City, OK), 4. 3bx-Joey Biasi (Mary D, PA), 5. 11s-Brian Smith (Mooresville, NC), 6. 79-Dakotah Stephens (Brandon, FL), 7. 17b-Ryan Bickett (Ramona, SD), 8. 14-Coleman Gulick (Binghamton, NY), 9. 21T-T.J. Luedke (Plymouth, WI), 10. 97-Aaron Schipper (Plymouth, WI), 11. 51-John Sauermilch (Elkhart Lake, WI), 12. 00T-Thomas Selhorst (Clearwater, FL), 13. b4-Eric Baldaccini (Keller, TX), 14. 25-Michael Parent (Quebec, CAN).  DNS: 4c-Tyler Godwin (Lutz, FL).


Prevatt Farms Strawberry Dash:


Strawberry Dash (4 Laps):  1. 17b-Ryan Bickett (Ramona, SD), 2. 6s-Mike Schroeder (Southwest Ranches, FL), 3. 51-John Sauermilch (Elkhart Lake, WI), 4. 00T-Thomas Selhorst (Clearwater, FL).


O’Reilly ASCoT "A" Main Event - $10,000 to win Ronald Laney Memorial:


“A” Feature (40 Laps):  1. 41-Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA), 2. 01-Gary Wright (Hooks, TX), 3. 1m-Terry McCarl (Altoona, IA), 4. 29-Travis Rilat (Forney, TX), 5. 4a-Kenny Adams (Malabar, FL), 6. 50z-Zach Chappell (Talala, OK), 7. 7s-Jason Sides (Bartlett, TN), 8. 11x-Garry Lee Maier (Cimarron, KS), 9. 21-Daryn Pittman (Owasso, OK), 10. 94-Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK), 11. 75-Don Young (Memphis, TN), 12. 3-Sport Allen (Pinellas Park, FL), 13. 27-Andy Shouse (Oklahoma City, OK), 14. 02-Gene Lasker (Tampa, FL), 15. 91-Don Droud, Jr. (Lincoln, NE), 16. X-Chuck Swenson (Watertown, SD), 17. 17-Samantha Taylor (Bonney Lake, WA), 18. a12-Tim Shaffer (Aliquippa, PA), 19. 00-Danny Martin, Jr. (Sarasota, FL), 20. 88-Tim Crawley (Benton, AR), 21. 5-Dave Calaman (Carlisle, PA), 22. 2-Joey Saldana (Brownsburg, IN), 23. 6-Greg Leonard (Apollo Beach, FL), 24. 19T-Matt Tiffany (Daytona Beach, FL).


Lap Leaders: Jason Johnson 1-40.


O’Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Fifteen):  1. Gary Wright 143, 2. Jason Johnson 142, 3. Terry McCarl 139, 4. Travis Rilat 138, 5. Kenny Adams 132, 6. Wayne Johnson 127, 7. Daryn Pittman 121, 8. (tie) Don Droud, Jr., Tim Crawley and Garry Lee Maier 114, 11. Jason Sides 111, 12. Tim Shaffer 109, 13. Greg Leonard 103, 14. Matt Tiffany 100, 15. Zach Chappell 98.






East Bay Winter Nationals Sprint  Cars


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