"One of our main goals was to win Rookie of the Year," he said. "We definitely had an up-and-down go of it, but we have some really great notes going forward. We're about three times more prepared for next year as we were going into this year. There's so much that's been built up from where we started. It's incredible what Shawn, Cyndi and the Thomas Family have built up. I feel like I'm on par with that and am three times more prepared than I was last year at this time."
Johnson recorded a trio of top-five finishes, but it was a charge from 17th to sixth place during the first King of the West points race at Placerville Speedway in Placerville, Calif., in April that stands out.
A week later Johnson won his first career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series heat race at Calistoga Speedway in Calistoga, Calif., to earn a spot in the dash. He was in contention for his first career top 10 with the World of Outlaws until a broken driveline in the main event ended the night early.
"Some highlights were definitely when the Outlaws came out," he said. "At the beginning of the Outlaws swing I feel like we put our team to the test and were running with those guys to show us where we stood. We got better each race and that was our first couple of weeks as a team. The amount of improvement was really incredible."
Johnson also had a strong outing in early September in a nonwing sprint car at Calistoga Speedway during the USAC/CRA 8th annual Louie Vermeil Classic. He charged from 18th to capture an 11th-place finish at the prestigious event.
"The Louie Vermeil was a cool one," he said. "That was my first nonwing 410 show for a while. To run that good with that caliber of guys tells you where you're at and your operation is. It was a lot of fun."
Johnson said he plans on a similar schedule in 2016. The team will open the year at the 2nd annual Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown at Cocopah Speedway in Somerton, Ariz., Jan. 1-2, Jan. 5 and Jan. 8-9. Johnson is also planning on making his Knoxville Nationals debut in August as well.
"I want to thank Shawn, Cyndi and the Thomas Family for the opportunity as well as my family, fans and sponsors for their support," he said. "Everybody is going to want to be a fan and supporter of your career when you're on the top and doing well, but when you have troublesome times that really shows me how great and loyal my sponsors, fans and supporters are. I can't thank them enough for sticking with me and believing in me.
"This was a great foundation year and I can't wait to take what we learned and apply it in 2016."
SEASON STATS -
38 races, 0 wins, 3 top fives, 7 top 10s, 14 top 15s, 21 top 20s
MEDIA LINKS -
Johnson has new red, black or gray t-shirts and hoodies for sale at his race trailer at every race he competes in this season. T-shirts are $20 each and hoodies are $35 apiece.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT - Johnny Franklin's Mufflers
With California locations in Santa Rosa and San Rafael, Johnny Franklin's Mufflers has been a leader in the service industry for mufflers, drivelines and hitches for more than 50 years.
"My great grandpa started Johnny Franklin's Mufflers in 1961 and it has been in the family ever since," Johnson said. "My family and everyone at Johnny Franklin's Mufflers have supported me through my entire racing career and are my biggest fans. I couldn't be happier to represent such a great company."
Johnson would also like to thank Newman Freeman Racing, PitStopUSA.com, Shifty Illusions, Napa Auto Parts, Flowmaster, Don's Truck Repair, VSR, Fast Lube Plus, K&N Filters, Oroville Cycle, I-Wear Graphix, Driven Raceway, Nor-Cal Transmission, Justin Henry Racing and Chevron Pro-Gas for their continued support.
INSIDE LINE PROMOTIONS -
Inside Line Promotions specializes in affordable public relations and media management for motor sports drivers, teams, sponsors, tracks, series, events, organizations and manufacturers. ILP Founder Shawn Miller leverages professional journalism with new media technologies and social networking to improve your exposure and the return on investment for your sponsors.
To meet the media relations needs of your program by joining Team ILP, contact Shawn at 541-510-3663 or Shawn@InsideLinePromotions.com. For more information on Inside Line Promotions, visit http://www.InsideLinePromotions.com.
*PHOTO BY COLLIN MARKLE PHOTOGRAPHY*