Lure of NASCAR crown at South Boston Speedway makes a difficult decision an easy one for Johnson
SOUTH BOSTON, VA. — Success can sometime breed difficult decisions. That's the case for Late Model Stock Car driver Justin Johnson this weekend. Even though it's early in the season, Johnson finds himself in the thick of championship title chases at two area racetracks.
The Roxboro, N.C. native, who attends the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, sits second in the Barkhouser Late Model Stock Car Division point standings at South Boston Speedway. Johnson has two wins at America's Hometown Track this season and is just four points behind fellow two-time victor Wayne Ramsey.
Just south of the Virginia state line, Johnson has posted one win this season at Orange County Speedway and currently leads the Late Model Stock Car standings at that facility by two points.
Johnson's dilemma? South Boston Speedway and Orange County Speedway are both scheduled for racing action Saturday night. And, action at both tracks begins at 7 p.m.
Johnson's decision? He'll be in the starting lineup at South Boston Speedway bidding for his third victory and hoping to chase down his dream of claiming a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship at the four-tenths mile asphalt oval in 2008.
"We made a commitment at the start of the season to run for the championship at South Boston Speedway," Johnson said. "I wish we could run both races, but that's not possible. Having a chance to live the dream of winning a NASCAR championship at a place like South Boston is something I can't pass up."
Johnson went on to say that the possibility of having his name etched in history with some of the former track champions at South Boston Speedway is "the kind of stuff dreams are made of."
"You look at the history of that track — it's amazing," Johnson said. "They celebrated their 50th anniversary season last year and the list of drivers who have won championships there is just incredible. There's even a pretty impressive list of guys who have run there who never won the track championship."
Four NASCAR Whelen All American Series events are slated at South Boston Speedway Saturday as part of the NASCAR Whelen 150. The event is also being billed as Dad's Night Out. In honor of Father's Day on Sunday, all fathers will be admitted for Saturday's racing action for the discounted price of $5.
The featured race of the night will be a 150-lap event for the Barkhouser Late Model Stock Car Division. That's a race Johnson feels he can win if he qualifies well during time trials.
"Last time out, we won and, I think, showed we had the best car that night," Johnson said. "The race before that, we started ninth and worked our way up to second. If we can qualify in the top five Saturday, I think we will have a pretty good shot at winning."
And, maybe taking over the lead in the points chase, which he lost after the second race of the season.
"We won the season opener and were feeling pretty good about the year," Johnson said. "Then, we got off track in the second race by getting in that wreck early, but I think we've got things turned around in the right direction now."
Also highlighting Saturday's racing action will be twin 50-lap races for the drivers in the Limited Sportsman Division. Two-time winner Lee Pulliam is the leader in the standings, but by only one point over two-time defending champion Bruce Anderson, who has one win at the track this season.
Rounding out the NASCAR Whelen 150 program will be an event for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division. One-time winner Joe Allred leads the point standings for the division.
Pit gates will open Saturday at 1 p.m. with practice for all divisions beginning at 2:15 p.m. and continuing through 3:45 p.m. Grandstand gates will open at 5 p.m. and qualifying time trials will get cranked up at 5:15 p.m.
Tickets are priced at $10 for adults. Youth, ages 7-12, will be admitted for $5 and children, ages 6 and under, will be admitted free. All youth must be accompanied by a paying adult to receive discounted admission.
For more information, phone the track at (434) 572-4947 or toll free at 1-877-440-1540.
South Boston Speedway
Director of Media Operations
Office Phone: (336) 599-0162, extension 111
Speedway Office Phone: (434) 572-4947