TULARE, CALIFORNIA (March 13, 2015) – It was Friday the 13th and Jason Johnson and the World of Outlaw (WoO) competitors made the journey west to compete against the tough California contingent of racers. There is so much talk about the competitiveness on the East Coast, but that certainly is rivaled by the talent on the West Coast. California competition is tough enough without the race date falling on a Friday the 13th, but the combination was sure to bring the gremlins to the forefront on this night. There were 46 eager race team aligned in the pit area at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California ready to do battle. One of those teams was the JJR and Priority Aviation Services, LLC World of Outlaw team.
Tulare is nestled in the heart of Central Valley in California. The town is named for the currently dry Tulare Lake, which was once the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes. But on this night, the grandstands were packed with fans ready to see some high speed WoO racing action against some of their own local stars. Jason rolled out in the Dissolvalloy Frac Ball Revolution/Kenny’s Components #41 for hot laps. He went out early because he would be the fifth car to go out for his two time trial laps. This 1/3-mile clay oval they call Thunderbowl Raceway is “Lightning Fast”. Any small bobble around this racy oval chews ups tenths of a second off your time and puts you behind. Jason flipped the visor down on his Shell Shock custom painted Arai Helmet and got pushed off for his qualifying effort. His first lap was a good one at 13.123 seconds, while his second lap was slightly slower at 13.158 seconds. When the final qualifier, Austen Wheatley, took the checkers, the Ragin’ Cajun’s fastest lap was 25th quickest overall.
Starting on the inside of row four in the first heat race, which is packed with the fastest qualifiers as a whole, Jason rolled around in the Jonestown KOA/FK Rod Ends Maxim waiting for the green flag. When the flagman unleashed the field, the speed chauffeurs pounded the loud pedal filling the California air with the sweet sound of sprint cars. The fans were excited as the 12 cars raced all throughout the running order for position. The action was fast and furious, but passing was very limited as Jason brought home an eighth place finish.
Moving onto the B-Main, he would line up in the fifth starting spot for the Last Chance Showdown. With only four spots left in the night one A-Main field, it was go time for the Cajun Sensation. California racer Willie Croft, and fellow front row starter Ian Madsen, brought the field to the green and set a torrid pace around the cushion. Jason was working hard and moving fast, but in the end finished one spot out of the advancement positions in the fifth position.
Electing to use his first provisional of the season for the 35 lap A-Main, Jason climbed aboard his Waco Metal/K&N Filters #41 Maxim where he would start at the rear of the field in the 26th starting spot. Pole sitter, Joey Saldana, brought the field to the green and set a fast pace around Thunderbowl Raceway. The racing action was tight throughout the field as Jason was maneuvering his high speed bullet in search of an opening. The action near the front got too close as Carson Macedo caught the cushion and got upside down collecting Donny Schatz. When action resumed, the Louisiana born driver stayed on the loud pedal in his #41 and was moving up a few spots in the running order. The red again was displayed, this time for Ian Madsen as he collected some of the leaders, Saldana and Sweet, which gave Jason some time to catch his breath and refocus. He retightened his Crow Enterprizes safety belts and pushed off for more racing. One final red would be displayed, this time for four cars that flipped, Daryn Pittman, Willie Croft, David Gravel and Bud Kaeding. After Pittman and Gravel made repairs they rejoined the field and Jason readied himself again to go back at it around the lightning fast 1/3-mile clay oval. California native, Tim Kaeding, took the win to become the seventh different driver to win in seven WoO races. Jason avoided all of the accidents and Friday the 13th mayhem as he brought his mount home in one piece with an 18th place finish. Another chapter of learning in the books that can be applied quickly back at Thunderbowl Raceway on Saturday night for the second and final night of action at the track on this swing for the World of Outlaw competitors.