By DAVID SMITH Jr.
Special to The Hays Daily News
Park City, Kansas - March 30, 2013 - Jason Johnson measured each and every move race long leader Don Droud, Jr. made and then found the perfect opportunity to execute a slide job with eleven laps remaining to claim the season opener for the National Championship Racing Association of Park City, Kansas presented by Precise Racing Products 360 sprint car feature victory during the third annual "Air Capital Shootout" at 81 Speedway in Park City on Saturday night.
Droud, aboard the familiar Ochs Brothers #1x, started on the S&S Trailer Sales pole for the thirty-five lap feature and quickly used his Don Ott powered Maxim chassis to power into the lead over fourth starting Johnson, Mike Peters and Seth Bergman.
Droud kept out front while Johnson stayed glued to his rear bumper as the two front runners began to pull away from the rest of the field before the first caution of the feature fell on lap six when Tony Bruce, Jr. came to a stop on the front stretch.
The Lincoln, Nebraska sprint car veteran got a good jump on the restart and pulled away to an eight car length lead over Johnson and was set on cruise before the red flag would fly on lap ten when Tim Crawley, driving his own #87 sprinter, had the power plant expire with a brief burst of flames that quickly dissipated.
While Droud once again pulled away from Johnson on the restart, Bergman, who had been battling with Peters for fourth for several laps, executed a slide job in turns three and four to take over that position.
At the races midway point it was Droud still your leader followed by Johnson, Bergman, Peters and tenth starting Danny Wood the top five before the leaders began to approach lapped traffic before Jeff Stasa brought out the caution flag on lap nineteen as he rolled to a stop on the front stretch.
The attempted restart quickly went yellow as two-time and defending tour champion C.J. Johnson, his first night aboard the Danny King owned #e85 sprinter, slid to a stop up against the concrete wall exiting turn two.
That proved to be the final caution and on the final restart, Johnson made the most of the opportunity as he stayed glued to the leaders rear bumper and after measuring Droud for several laps, finally executed a slide job entering turns one and two to take the lead entering the back straight away on lap twenty-five.
From then on not even late race lapped traffic could slow the Stenhouse, Jr. owned #41 RouschYates Ford powered Maxim chassis as Johnson would cruise the final eleven laps to claim the $5000 first place prize.
"First I want to thank C Ray and his whole crew for working their butts off to get the track into race shape after all the rain they got," said Johnson who was referring to the nearly two inches of rain that occurred earlier in the morning. "I tried him (Droud) once and I figured I would just pace him for awhile to get a judge on how fast he was going on different parts of the track. I knew turns one and two were good and I found my opportunity and made the move then."
Droud would go on to claim the runner up position while Bergman finished third. Wood got around Peters late to finish in the fourth position.
Pennsylvania driver Lucas Wolfe started last in the twenty car feature and drove the #82 Buffalo Wild Wings sponsored sprinter up through the field to a ninth place finish.
The four, ten lap heat races for the thirty-eight car field were won by Droud, Jr., Johnson, Peters and Bergman while Joshua Hodges and Stasa claimed the two, twelve lap "B" features.
The next scheduled event for the NCRA 360 sprinters will be held on Saturday night, April 27th once again at 81 Speedway.
During intermission it was announced by speedway owner and promoter C Ray Hall that next year's 4th annual "Air Capital Shootout" will see$5000 added to the existing $20,000 purse.
The National Championship Racing Association would like to thank the following for their involvement with the series sprint car division for the 2013 race season:
Park City, Kansas, Precise Racing Products, Hoosier Racing Tires, Sunoco Race Fuels, S&S Trailer Sales, Inc.
1st Heat: 1) 1x Don Droud Jr. (Lincoln, Ne), 2) 24a Jordan Boston (Lincoln, Ne), 3) 18 Tony Bruce Jr. (Owasso, Ok), 4) 4j John James (Iowa Park, Tx), 5) 29 Brandon Hahn, 6) 98 J.D. Johnson (Wichita, Ks), 7) 3 Billy Alley (Bennet, Ne), 8) 32 Adam Gullion (Lincoln, Ne), 9) 16k Kaden Taylor (Forgan, Ok), 10) 52 Blake Hahn
2nd heat: 1) 41 Jason Johnson (Rocky Mount, Mo), 2) 82x Jason Danley (Lincoln, Ne), 3) 81 Tim Crawley, 4) e85 CJ Johnson (Quinter, Ks), 5) 8 Danny Lasoski (Higginsville, Mo), 6) 82 Lucas Wolfe, 7) 4am Mike Goodman, 8) 48 Jake Martens (Fairview, Ok), 9) 19 Marc Robe ( Wichita, Ks), 10) 36 Jason Martin (Lincoln, Ne)
3rd Heat: 1) 21 Mike Peters (Wichita, Ks), 2) 93 Dustin Morgan, 3) 81w Danny Wood (Norman, Ok), 4) 21 Brian Brown (Grain Valley, Mo), 5) 81 Jon Freeman (Salina, Ks), 6) 85 Forest Sutherland (Cherryvale, KS), 7) 21x Taylor Velasquez (Turpin, Ok), 8) 20 Luke Cranston (Plains, Ks), 9) 05 Justin Medlock (Colorado Springs, CO)
4th Heat: 1) 23 Seth Bergman (Snohomish, Wa), 2) 45x Johnny Herrera, 3) 10c Jeremy Campbell (Wichita, Ks), 4) 74x Josh Hodges (Tijeras, NM), 5) 19 Jeff Stasa (Kingman, Ks), 6) 4x Shawn Peterson (Irving, Tx), 7) 51w Matt Ward, 8) 97 Brian Herbert (Dodge City, Ks), 9) 1j Danny Jennings (Norman, Ok)
1st B Feature: 1) Josh Hodges (Tijeras, NM), 2) Brandon Hahn, 3) J.D. Johnson (Wichita, Ks), 4) Billy Alley (Bennet, Ne), 5) Luke Cranston (Plains, Ks), 6) Shawn Peterson (Irving, Tx), 7) Blake Hahn, 8) Mike Goodman, 9) Jon Freeman (Salina, Ks), 10) Kaden Taylor (Forgan, Ok), 11) Adam Gullion (Lincoln, Ne), 12) Justin Medlock (Colorado Springs, CO)
2nd B Feature: 1) Jeff Stasa (Kingman, Ks), 2) John James (Iowa Park, Tx), 3) Lucas Wolfe, 4) Danny Lasoski (Higginsville, Mo), 5) Jason Martin (Liberal, Ks), 6) Danny Jennings (Norman, Ok), 7) Taylor Velasquez (Turpin, Ok), 8) Marc Robe ( , Ks), 9) Forest Sutherland (Cherryvale, KS), 10) Jake Martens (Fairview, Ok), 11) Brian Herbert (Dodge City, Ks), 12) Matt Ward (Sapulpa, Ok)
A Feature: 1) Jason Johnson (Rocky Mount, Mo), 2) Don Droud Jr. (Lincoln, Ne), 3) Seth Bergman (Snohomish, Wa), 4) Danny Wood (Norman, Ok), 5) Mike Peters (Wichita, Ks), 6) Johnny Herrera, 7) Jeremy Campbell (Wichita, Ks), 8) Dustin Morgan, (Tulsa, Ok) 9) Lucas Wolfe (Lemoyne, Pa), 10) Jordan Boston (Lincoln, Ne), 11) Josh Hodges (Tijeras, NM), 12) Tony Bruce Jr. (Owasso, Ok), 13) Jason Danley (Lincoln, Ne), 14) J.D. Johnson (Wichita, Ks), 15) John James (Iowa Park, Tx), 16) CJ Johnson (Quinter, Ks), 17) Jeff Stasa (Kingman, Ks), 18) Brian Brown (Grain Valley, Mo), 19) Brandon Hahn, 20) Tim Crawley (Little Rock, Ar).