LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS (November 3, 2016) – Ten years ago, in 2006, they crowned the driver from Eunice, Louisiana as the Short Track Nationals (STN) champion the Lanny andAlan Row #41. Jason and the JJR #41 crew were back at I-30 Speedway, affectionately called Hammer Hill, in the Priority Aviation Services, LLC/Schoenfeld Headers #41 Maxim for another shot at winning in the 29th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals. It wasn’t going to be easy with 62 cars registered and ready to go in the pit area.
With eight heat races, yes eight heat races, staging in pit lane it was time to go racing here at the Short Track Nationals at Joe and Tracey Clay’s always racy I-30 Speedway. Jason would line for the fourth heat race with names like Ernie Ainsworth, Shane Stewart, Jonathan Cornell and Marshall Skinner to name a few as they prepared to race ten laps around Hammer Hill. After a bumpy start, Jason got on the loud pedal and was wheeling and dealing in his Fischer Body Shop/CCC #41. Ainsworth would take the win as Jason crossed the stripe in second ahead of Stewart and Skinner with Andy McElhannon rounding out the top five.
Next up were the four 10-lap qualifier races for the top point guys after round one heat races. Jason was slated to start in the first one which was loaded with some talent. Guys like Stewart, Max Stambaugh, Tim Crawley, Mark Smith, Kevin Ramey and Aaron Reutzel. It certainly wasn’t going to be easy. When the green flag dropped, the 2016 Knoxville Nationals champion was up on the wheel and making tracks with Crawley and others giving chase. Johnson was making his tail tank the best view they could get in this one as he took the qualifier race win over Crawley, Reutzel, Smith and Ramey. The Ragin’ Cajun advanced onto the feature event and waited for the starting lineup to be posted to know what work he had to do.
When the starting order was set for the 25-lap preliminary night feature, the 2006 STN winner from Rocky Mount, Missouri would be starting from the seventh position. The talented front row of Tim Crawley and Sammy Swindell would be tough to beat, but this Cajun-born wheelman that drives the forty-one likes the challenge. When the green flag waved, Crawley jumped into the early lead with Swindell close behind. Jason went to work searching for the fast line in his Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/Waco Metal machine. He was making his way forward and was certainly delivering the fans their entertainment value and more on this night as he made a daring two car pass diving underneath Zach Pringle and Arron Reutzel to move from fifth to third coming off turn four. The fans noticed and were going crazy. He was then digging to race down runner-up Tim Crawley who had surrendered the lead to Swindell on lap 12. He caught him and drove under him on the frontstretch as the laps were dwindling down to take over the second spot. There was some track distance between him and the leader, but Swindell’s brakes were sparking and the Ragin’ Cajun was coming and coming fast. When the two drivers came off turn four with the white flag waving, Johnson made his move for the lead using the low line to carry his speed. He dove to the bottom entering turn one and made contact with the #39 of Spencer Bayston. He looped the #41, but stayed in the gas and kept it going to salvage a third-place finish behind Swindell and Crawley. What a great first night of racing at the Short Track Nationals. Entertainment to the fullest. Jason’s podium run locked him into the big one on Saturday night. A great run for the forty-one!