Jason Johnson Soars to Lucas Oil ASCS Glory in Eagle Nationals!
Lonnie Wheatley, EAGLE, Neb. (June 12, 2010) – It took until nearly the middle of June, but Louisiana’s Jason Johnson finally cracked Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National victory lane by capturing top honors in Saturday night’s 30-lap Eagle Nationals championship finale atop the 1/3-mile Eagle Raceway dirt oval.
“The Ragin’ Cajun” raced into the lead from the second row on the opening circuit and led all the way on the top side of the track, taking the checkered flag just ahead of the closing duo of Jack Dover and Shane Stewart.
“When you start up front like that, you have to capitalize and try to get wins,” Johnson explained in victory lane.
While Johnson’s 44th career ASCS National win marked his first as a car owner aboard the Don Ott-powered Jason Johnson Motorsports Haynes/Pope Transportation No. 41 Maxim, he denied local hero Jack Dover a near storybook win after a trip to the hospital following a nasty last-lap crash while running second a night earlier.
“I wasn’t gonna race tonight, but I went out in the heat race and felt good on the first lap,” Dover explained after an overnight stay under observation.
Dover raced his way into Saturday’s redraw with some thrilling sliders from seventh to finish second in the fourth heat behind the night’s top point earner, Ricky Logan, who also took a quick trip to the hospital on Friday night after also being rendered unconscious.
Dover lined up on the front row outside of the feature, with third-place Friday finisher Zach Chappell on the pole. However, it was fourth-starter Johnson that moved to second in the opening pair of corners and then slid past Dover for the lead in turns three and four on the opening circuit.
While Johnson cruised out front much of the way, Chappell and Dover engaged in a spirited duel for second over the middle half of the race, with Dover finally gaining command after a lap 19 caution for Logan, who came to a stop in turn four.
Johnson broke free once again on the lap 20 restart, opening up a ten car-length advantage. But, as the laps wound down, Dover began to reel in the leader along with Shane Stewart, who took third away from Chappell on the 21st round after starting ninth.
Johnson reached the checkered flag just in time, a mere two car-lengths ahead of Dover’s familiar Shaver-powered 3D Auto Transport No. 53 Eagle.
“I knew he’d (Dover) be the guy to beat,” Johnson commented. “He runs here week in and week out anytime we have a weekend off, he knows how to get around this place.”
The 20-year-old Dover stayed in the thick of the points race with a runner-up finish just one night after it looked as if there may be some down time, commenting that, “I wasn’t expecting to race tonight and we ended up second behind Jason, so we’re happy.”
Rebounding from a Friday night flip as well, reigning series champion Stewart worked his way into the show position aboard Paul Silva’s Wesmar-powered Rock Star Energy Drink No. 57 A.R.T.
The Bixby, OK, shoe would have liked more though, explaining, “That’s a couple of nights in a row we had a good enough car to win the race and we’re not the winner, so I’m not 100% happy.” Stewart continued, “Third place is good after last night though, but we’re getting pretty antsy to get this car back in victory lane where it belongs."
Chappell reeled off his third top-five finish in a row aboard David Chappell’s