JOHNSON WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE OF SECOND TUNDRA TITLE
PORTAGE, Wis. (August 20, 2018) – Casey Johnson’s return to the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes, thus far, has gone to plan – with an exception or two along the way.
The 2016 TUNDRA Champion sits only five points behind his teammate John Beale in the title race with two races remaining. After working as Beale’s Crew Chief last year – a task he still performs – Johnson has been able to master the art of double duty in 2018.
“I knew John was going to be strong and I didn’t expect a whole lot less from myself,” Johnson said. “We had one bad race, so I’m actually happy to be sitting Second.”
Round Two at Marshfield Motor Speedway is the only major blemish in Johnson’s results so far this season, and it was almost a very different turn of events. Johnson had charged to the lead and built up a large advantage in the Bev Aschenbrenner Memorial, only to see a win fall by the wayside due to a fuel pump issue. He suffered a DNF and a 22nd Place finish.
“That was probably the best car I ever had there,” Johnson said. “It was just more bad luck for the season I guess.”
Aside from the hard luck at Jefferson, Johnson has achieved his normal stand-out status at the other three events. In Kroll’s West Round One at Wisconsin International Raceway Johnson set fast time and charged to Fourth. At State Park Speedway he secured a Third Place finish. At Jefferson he set fast time and made his way to Fifth before rain shortened the event.
“We had an awesome car at Jefferson,” Johnson said. “I don’t think I even would have needed the rest of the race, maybe just 25 more laps. It was still pretty cool to see the team car go ahead and win.”
What may be even more impressive is that Johnson had to call an audible and bring one of Dennis Chase’s cars to Round Four. The last time they teamed up there in 2016, Chase and Johnson pulled off a feature win. It looked as though they may have had a chance to do that again if the race had gone to completion.
“That’s the nice thing about working with Dennis. He has two Pathfinders now so we’re all kind of based the same,” Johnson said. “If something happens it’s real easy to just make a phone call and beg for another ride.”
That partnership has also resulted in a strong point lead at Wisconsin International Raceway where Johnson and Chase seek their first Fox River Racing Club Thursday Night Thunder Championship.
With a little luck – both to the good and the bad – Johnson still finds himself right in the thick of the TUNDRA title hunt. It is a title hunt that also features Justin Mondeik eight points out of the top spot and the team of Neil Knoblock and Dennis Prunty just ten points back from Beale. Colin Reffner is still very much in the mix just 19 points back.
At this point each of those drivers has had one race they most certainly would like back. With just Golden Sands and Dells Raceway Park remaining, little room for error is left.
“As close as the points are right now I feel like the slate is wiped clean,” Johnson said. “There are two races left and everyone is right on top of each other. The guy that has two strong runs is going to win the thing. That’s the way I look at it.”
Johnson’s last two TUNDRA events (both in 2016) were respectable at the facilities. He finished Seventh at Plover and Second at Dells Raceway Park after setting fast time. However, Johnson has competed in numerous other events at both tracks since then. He won’t be rusty.
“I know John and I got quite a few laps to step up our game at Plover last year,” Johnson said. “I think we’re pretty strong going into there. We’ve also had some pretty strong runs at the Dells. I think as long as we’re on our game, I really hope it comes down to me and him.”
Should it come down to the teammates, Johnson said it will be one fans won’t want to miss.
“He’s a fierce competitor and I’m the same. I know we’ll just go race and the best car will win.”
TUNDRA swings back into action on Labor Day, Monday, September 3 at Golden Sands Speedway in Plover, Wis. The series will be joined by the Midwest Truck Series and Wisconsin Sport Trucks. Qualifying is at 12:30 p.m. with racing at 2 p.m.
Golden Sands Speedway is located on State Highway 54 between Plover and Wisconsin Rapids. For more information visit www.gssraces.com