MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA (May 20, 2017) – Unlike the previous few days in Pennsylvania, the mercury in the thermometer never touched 70 degrees on this damp and overcast day in Central Pennsylvania and a coat or sweatshirt was recommended and needed. The good thing is there was no rain and the racing was still on for Saturday night at Williams Grove Speedway for the always popular tussle for the Morgan Cup. There were 37 cars in the pit area all hoping for a chance to win the prestigious Morgan Cup for themselves as well as for their sanctioning body’s pride – either the World of Outlaws or the Pennsylvania (PA) Posse.
The track was fast and the lap times were all bunched together tightly in hot laps with thousands of a second separating a lot of good drivers. Jason was slated to be the 25th car to push off to take his two individual qualifying laps. When he rolled onto the speedway in the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/Engler Machine & Tool #41 Maxim it was PA Posse member Lance Dewease in the #69k atop the speed charts. Jason took the green flag and had fast smooth lines through one and two as he carried his speed down the backstretch. He entered turn three and there was a bump in the racing surface on entry as the Cajun Sensation hit it scrubbing off some time but corrected it as he sped out of turn four. His first lap time stopped the clock at 16.716 seconds, which was only good enough for 15th quick. He stayed focused and the second time around dove under the dip and charged out of four heading for the checkers. It is always good when you hear Johnny Gibson belt out “Quuuuuuuuick Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime for the Ragin’ Cajun Jason Johnson!” over the public-address system. It certainly was a great lap coming in at 16.402 seconds, which would put him on top of the speed charts and his quick time withstood the remaining qualifiers as Jason collected his sixth quick time of the 2017 racing season.
Starting from the pole in the first and fastest heat race aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Brown & Miller Racing Solutions (BMRS) #41 he was looking to secure a top two finish to advance to the Craftsman Club Dash. He shared the front row with Tim Shaffer, known in the racing circles as The Steel City Outlaw, and when the green flag waved Jason drove off the bottom and into the lead. He was truckin’ and started to build a sizable lead over Shaffer as he ran in clean air. He methodically hit his marks at every point of the historic speedway and was turning very consistent laps to lead wire-to-wire as he took the heat race victory over Shaffer, Ryan Taylor and Kraig Kinser with Greg Hodnett coming home fifth.
The pre-Dash starting order had Jason, the night’s quick timer and first heat race winner, on the pole. But when the inversion pill was pulled it was an eight, which put Shane Stewart on the pole for the Craftsman Club Dash and Jason back in row four in the eighth starting spot. When the six-lap event went green, Stewart seized the lead and was showing the way as Jason was driving in the seventh position ahead of Dewease. Stewart would take the Dash victory over T.J. Stutts, Sheldon Haudenschild, Tim Shaffer, Logan Schuchart, and Jason Sides as Dewease passed Jason back to come home seventh as Jason rounded out the field.
Philip, Jeff and Jason made some last-minute setup changes to the Jonestown KOA/ISC Racers Tape #41 as the double horn sounded and the 24 feature starters pushed onto the racing surface for the 30-lap A-Main. After going four-wide to salute the fans it was time to go racing at Williams Grove Speedway. It was all out chaos at the start of the feature as these 410 sprint cars all got up to speed. It was PA Posse representative, T.J. Stutts, taking the early lead with Shane Stewart giving chase as Jason worked from the eighth position with his Weld Racing wheel glimmering under the lights. On lap 3, Sheldon Haudenschild did a 360 spin and kept going while running in the top five as Jason narrowly missed him as he powered back up to speed coming off turn two. A few laps later, on lap eleven, Haudenschild would spin out again, this time between turns three and four to bring out the night’s first caution. Jason would restart seventh and when they went back to green all heck broke loose with Jason getting shuffled back four spots. The Ragin’ Cajun stayed up on the wheel and started to make some forward progress as Stewart took over the lead of race. On lap 15, the caution would again be displayed as Brent Marks and Brian Montieth got together coming off turn two with Montieth ending up on top of Marks’ hood. Jason would restart tenth and powered his way into the ninth position. He would stay focused under his Bell Racing Helmet and eventually gain another position before the yellow was displayed for a slowing Kraig Kinser on the front straightaway on lap 21. Stewart would choose to restart from the high side which put Jason and the other even numbered drivers in the running order on the inside for the restart. When racing resumed Jason was running in the ninth position and when Shane Stewart collected his first win of the 2017 season ahead of Daryn Pittman, Tim Shaffer, Lance Dewease and Logan Schuchart, Jason came home with a hard earned ninth place finish at Williams Grove Speedway! A fast and productive night for the team as they learned quite a bit they will hope to use when the revisit “The Grove” in July. A good run for the forty-one!