KNOXVILLE, IOWA (June 10, 2017) – Any time you pull into the pit area at Knoxville Raceway you know whatever direction you look there will be a fierce competitor. All the best sprint car drivers, past and present, have come to the big half-mile oval in hopes of winning and many have gone home disappointed time and time again. Jason Johnson has had success here in the past, most recently winning the biggest race of them all – the 2016 56th Annual 5-Hour Energy Knoxville Nationals, and he was looking to build momentum for their return in August during this visit to the Sprint Car Capital of the World.
With 40 cars registered on night two of the Brownells Big Guns Bash, the time trial field was again split into two equal flights with 20 cars in each flight. Jason went out in Flight A aboard the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/Schoenfeld Headers #41 Maxim and was hammer down the entire time. The always beautifully presented forty-one was at speed under the setting sun off turn four under the Weld Racing billboard that featured last year’s National’s winner. He was fast and turned two consistently fast laps here at Knoxville Raceway. The quicker of those two laps came in at 15.615 seconds, which is scooting around this big oval, but where tenths of a second separate these speedsters the quick lap time was eighth quick overall in Flight A.
Starting from the outside of row two in the second heat race, the Louisianan that know calls Rocky Mount, Missouri home was ready to go in the Fischer Body Shop/Kenny’s Components Maxim. Lynton Jeffrey and Daryn Pittman were on the front row as Jason shared row two with David Heskin. There were five transfer spots up for grabs with only the first two coveted spots advancing on to the Craftsman Club Dash. The green waved and Jeffrey led Pittman into turn one with the Ragin’ Cajun running third. The top three would maintain that order while making quick work around Knoxville Raceway. They would finish one-two-three with Austin McCarl coming home fourth and Heskin grabbing the last transfer spot.
With 25 laps of high speed action left for Jason and the JJR Marshall Racing #41 team, the driver and crew monitored the evolving track conditions throughout the remaining races to ready their mount for the feature event. Jason would start from the eleventh position in the field for the event. Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz, who made up row one, brought the field to the green flag with Schatz edging out Sweet to lead lap one. Jason drove down to the dark dirt on the inside of the surface early in the race before moving up across the track trying to build speed through the middle in his Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Jonestown KOA #41. He was fast, but everyone else was too as they were setting a blistering pace around Knoxville Raceway. There was great racing action everywhere and Jason was in the middle of a tussle for a higher spot of the scoring pylon. The laps were dwindling down with Schatz still leading the field. He would go on to earn another trip to victory lane, winning over David Gravel, Sweet and Ian Madsen with Brian Brown coming home fifth. Jason secured a tenth-place finish on this night, his 27th of the season so far and second consecutive top ten at Knoxville on the weekend, after two hard fought nights of racing competition. Jason and the team will take their lessons learned, race notes and work hard to prepare and make adjustments for their return trip to Knoxville Raceway in August for the 57th Annual 5-Hour Energy Knoxville Nationals. A good run for the forty-one!