SARVER, PA – June 22, 2012 – By Kevin Kovac/WoO LMS P.R. Director - Davey Johnson is one of western Pennsylvania’s most decorated dirt Late Model drivers. But in the race that has become the biggest full-fender extravaganza held in his native area, he’s a mere mortal. So it’s no surprise that the proud 48-year-old star from Latrobe, Pa., has put extra emphasis on the sixth annual Firecracker 100 Presented by GottaRace.com, a three-night World of Outlaws Late Model Series spectacular scheduled for June 28-30 at Lernerville Speedway. “For us right now, the Firecracker is the focus,” Johnson said two days after winning the June 15 DIRTcar UMP Late Model feature at Lernerville. “Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania Motor Speedway in Imperial) is kind of my home track, but Lernerville is close to home too and the Firecracker is the race you gotta shoot for. We’ve won the Pittsburgher (at PPMS) four times, so we’d really like to add a big win at Lernerville.” Johnson, of course, has some tough history to overcome in the Firecracker 100. He’s never even qualified for the Firecracker 100 A-Main, falling short of transferring through a B-Main by three spots in each of his four stabs at the event. He called his performance record in the race “terrible,” creating a major void on an otherwise impressive resume that includes, among other honors, those four Pittsburgher victories; a triumph in the 2000 USA Nationals at Wisconsin’s Cedar Lake Speedway; three championships and 50 career wins on the old STARS/Northern Xtreme Series; one title and 45 career wins at PPMS; and two career WoO LMS checkered flags (both in ’04). “It seems like the last few years we’ve been hit-or-miss with our racing early in the season because work was busy, and the next thing you know the Firecracker is here and we’re not really ready to go,” said Johnson, who makes his living operating tug boats that help transport coal and fuel along Pittsburgh’s rivers. “We just haven’t been nearly good enough to get anything done against the kind of competition that show draws.” The driver known as ‘Juice’ hopes to turn around his flagging Firecracker fortunes this year. He once again enters Lernerville’s big weekend, which features 30-lap, $6,000-to-win WoO LMS programs on Thurs., June 28, and Fri., June 29, leading into the 100-lap, $30,000-to-win finale on Sat., June 30, having raced only sporadically for the first several months of the season, but his recent success has him feeling pretty good about his chances. Johnson has made three weekly starts at Lernerville in 2012, finishing second on May 18, 17th on June 8 and first – in convincing fashion – on June 15 for his ninth career win at the four-tenths-mile oval. All of his runs have come behind the wheel of the new Warrior Chassis car he added for the ’12 season to the family operation on which he’s a teammate of his younger brother Mike, who will also compete in the Firecracker 100. “We’ve been going there back-and-forth with this new Warrior car and it’s been a handful,” said Johnson, whose only appearances this season outside Lernerville are single starts at PPMS and Eriez Speedway in Hammett, Pa. (WoO LMS event on June 17). “But I’ll tell you what, it was good at Lernerville (on June 15) – and Lernerville is the kind of place that gets slick, so if you can get your car dialed in there you’ll probably be pretty good just about anywhere you run this time of year. “That (win) was just one race, but I’m pretty happy with how the car felt. The car’s comfortable right now and we’ve been concentrating pretty hard on getting ready for the Firecracker, so I’d have to say it’s the best we’ve been prepared for the race. We’ll see how it goes, though.” With a stout Roush-Yates Ford engine providing the power for his Warrior No. 1J, Johnson is confident he has a combination that can carry him to Firecracker 100 glory. And if it does propel him to the finish line first, he would become the first driver from Pennsylvania to win an event that he has watched grow to lofty heights. “It’s an awesome race,” said Johnson, who has qualified for three of the four 30-lap preliminary A-Mains contested over the past two years, finishing 24 th (Thursday) and 16th (Friday) in 2010 and 15th (Friday) in ’11. “The way they keep building that race up is really exciting. Lernerville is probably one of the best tracks around as far as track prep and everything else – and that’s why the stands are just packed every week, from the local shows to the Firecracker. “It’s great to have a big race like this in our backyard. I hate driving far anymore. I mean, these guys who are still pounding the roads, like (50-year-old WoO LMS regular) Chub (Frank) and other guys, I don’t know how they do it. I did a lot of years of it, but now I like staying closer to home so having one of the biggest races in the country right here fits me perfectly.” Advance-sale tickets for the Firecracker 100 Presented by GottaRace.com are on sale on-line at www.worldofoutlaws.com/tickets or by calling 724-353-1511. Three-day reserved-seat packages are value-priced at $69 for adults and $19 for children 10-and-under – with a free fan pit pass for Thursday and Friday included. Single-day tickets are also now available for purchase on-line or by phone. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:50 p.m. each day of the Firecracker 100 weekend. Time trials will commence at 7:15 p.m. on Thurs., June 28, and Fri., June 29, with heat racing to begin at 8 p.m. The Sat., June 30, program, which includes heat races aligned by drivers’ best finishes during the preliminary nights, B-Mains, the $3,000-to-win ‘Uncle Sam 30’ Non-Qualifiers’ Race and the Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com, will get the green flag at 7:30 p.m. The huge weekend boasts more than just racing. Entertainment includes fireworks; a parking-lot concert by the group NoMAD following Friday’s racing card; a Saturday afternoon filled with a driver/fan horseshoes and cornhole tournaments, the Ms. Firecracker contest and a wienie roast; and a driver autograph session underneath the grandstands prior to Saturday night’s program. Additional info on the Firecracker 100 Presented by GottaRace.com can be obtained by logging on to www.lernerville.com or calling 724-353-1511.
Davey Johnson Focused On Making Some Noise in Firecracker 100 Presented by GottaRace.com June 28-29-30
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