Johnson Happy Following Improvement in Return to Chili Bowl Nationals
Inside Line Promotions - TULSA, Okla. (Jan. 19, 2015) - Chase Johnson is beaming following his return to the 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
Johnson made the main event during his preliminary night at the premier midget event inside the River Spirit Expo Center last week when he drove for Cole Wood Racing for the second straight year.
"It was awesome," he said. "I think it was a big step. All of the returning drivers, including myself, improved and the results showed that. It was a positive experience and we had a lot of growth. It was a better year with a lot of improvement from the first year. I felt like I had driven that car for 30 races the first day I hopped in it. I felt so comfortable."
Johnson kicked off the event, which featured a record entry list of more than 325 drivers, by advancing from third to second place in his heat race last Friday at the Tulsa Expo Raceway.
"The heat race went really well," he said. "It was pretty cool to run with Cory Kruseman and to hold off Daryn Pittman at the end of the heat. Those are two guys I really look up to."
That locked Johnson into a qualifier, which he started on the pole.
"Those qualifiers are so tough," he said. "I had to put my elbows up and try to get out in front as quickly as I could. Two guys got around us, but it still gave us some great finishing points and was enough to put us in the feature."
His third-place result coupled with the heat race finish placed Johnson 15th in overall points to earn a spot into the main event. He lined up on the inside of the eighth row for the 30-lap feature.
"The main event was going great," he said. "The car was handling awesome. We were rolling around in the back early on. There was a lot of traffic. The first 15 laps went green and it definitely made it hard because I started 15th. When everyone gets spread out it's hard to get around a lot of guys. You really have to have cautions to pick off guys one at a time.
"We had the brakes go away and after that we went a lap down. I just fell backwards. There wasn't much I could have done without brakes so we limped to the finish."
Johnson ended with a 22nd-place result, which relegated him to a D Main during Saturday's finale.
"I was feeling really good and confident," he said. "Three out of the four team cars were in the D Main. Me and Cole worked our way into transfer spots and I was sitting in the fifth position when a caution came out with about five laps remaining. On the restart a driver three cars ahead of me hit the cone. When the yellow came out they told me to go to the back because they thought I was the guy who hit the cone, which was a complete bummer. I didn't have enough time to get back into a transfer spot that I was in."
Johnson finished with an 11th-place result after being forced to restart last.
"I want to say thanks to the Wood family for giving me the opportunity and thanks to Tim Clauson for setting up the cars," he said. "He gave me a rocket ship every time I went out."
Johnson is scheduled to start his sprint car season March 13-14 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series.
QUICK RESULTS -
Jan. 16 - Tulsa Expo Raceway in Tulsa, Okla. - Heat race: 2 (3); Qualifier: 3 (1); Feature: 22 (15).
Jan. 17 - Tulsa Expo Raceway in Tulsa, Okla. - D Main: 11 (9).
SEASON STATS -
2 races, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 top 15s, 0 top 20s
UP NEXT -
March 13-14 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series
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 - Newman Freeman Racing
During the 1976 auto racing season, actor Paul Newman became interested in forming a professional auto racing team and contacted Bill Freeman from Santa Barbara. Freeman is credited as the man who introduced Newman to professional auto racing management and their company specialized in Can-Am, Indy Cars and other high performance racing automobiles.
"The reason Paul Newman got into racing was because of a guy named Bill Freeman," Johnson said. "Bill hasn't really been involved in racing since Paul's death so we really appreciate his support and partnership."
Johnson would also like to thank Johnny Franklin's Mufflers, 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 and to join Team ILP, contact Shawn at 541-510-3663 or InsideLinePromotions@gmail.com. For more information on Inside Line Promotions, visit http://www.InsideLinePromotions.com/