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Jason Johnson Cashes In with ASCS Gulf South Win at HRP!

Lonnie Wheatley, BAYTOWN, Texas (April 3, 2010) – Jason Johnson got a much-needed win by wiring the field in Saturday night’s 25-lap American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Region main event to top the Inaugural Lone Star Shootout at Houston Raceway Park.

The Ragin’ Cajun’s 23rd career ASCS Gulf South triumph and 73rd overall ASCS victory was the first for the newly-formed Jason Johnson Racing team in just its second night of competition after debuting in the recent Lucas Oil ASCS National opener.

While Johnson paced the field all the way aboard the Don Ott-powered Haynes/Pope Transportation No. 41 Maxim, he withstood mid-race pressure from Travis Rilat and then a late charge from Gary Wright to secure the $3,000 triumph.

“The first win, this is huge,” an ecstatic Johnson relayed from victory lane.

While Rilat led the feature field to the green flag, it was Johnson gunning into the lead at the outset from the front row outside.

Reeling in the tail of the field in just a handful of laps, a pair of cautions in the opening ten circuits gave Johnson clear track just as traffic was about to factor into the proceedings on a pair of occasions.

But after California’s Kyle Hirst coasted to a stop on the ninth lap, Rilat had an opportunity when Johnson began working through traffic at the midway point.

Rilat closed to Johnson’s tailtank on the 15th round, only to have Johnson make a timely move around a lapped car to slip away by several car lengths. Very soon after, Rilat coasted to a stop on the frontstretch with terminal engine woes, setting up a seven-lap dash to the checkered flag with “The Texan” now in the role of chaser.

A pair of lapped cars between the leader and Wright was just the cushion Johnson needed though. Reaching traffic once again with two rounds to go, Wright rapidly closed the gap on Johnson. But when Johnson made a nimble move through a pair of cars entering turn one on the final circuit, the race was all but over.

Johnson flashed under the checkered flag to take the win and become the third different winner in as many 2010 ASCS Gulf South feature events, with Wright settling for runner-up honors.

After starting eighth, Missouri’s Brian Brown was on the move following the lap nine caution and climbed to third by race’s end with defending ASCS Gulf South champion Aaron Reutzel and 14th-starter Michael Dupuy rounding out the top five.

Brady Bacon charged from 19th to sixth, with Tony Bruce, Jr., 15th-starter Tommy Bryant, Eric Baldaccini and Channin Tankersley completing the top ten.

Kyle Hirst, Bruce, Jr., Baldaccini and Johnson topped heat race action for Saturday night’s 36-car field, with Bacon making a lap 10 move around Chris Sweeney to win the 12-lap “B” Main.

American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Region Results from Houston Raceway Park:

Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 6-Kyle Hirst, 2. 35-Greg Rilat, 3. 71-Channin Tankersley, 4. 51w-Wes Miller, 5. 93-Chris Sweeney, 6. 12b-Logan Bledsoe, 7. 17-Bruce Griffith, Jr., 8. 51-Jimmy Brooks, 9. 70-Anthony Reaves.

Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. 29-Travis Rilat, 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 4. 10-Ricky Logan, 5. 00-Michael Dupuy, 6. 52-Roger Oakes, 7. 51s-Beau Smith, 8. 99-Brady Bacon, 9. 1g-Cody Gardner.

Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 4-Eric Baldaccini, 2. 21-Brian Brown, 3. 85-Tommy Bryant, 4. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. 61-Travis Knighton, 6. 30x-Bean Elliott, 7. 8z-Zach Pringle, 8. 3T-Tyler King, 9. 19-Klint Angelette.

Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 9x-Gary Wright, 3. 87a-Andrew Marshala, 4. 31-Brandon Berryman, 5. 88-Scottie McDonald, 6. 87x-Billy Melton, 7. 28-James Cooper, 8. 3-Gary Watson, 9. 5-Jack Spencer.

“B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 99-Brady Bacon, 2. 93-Chris Sweeney, 3. 12b-Logan Bledsoe, 4. 87x-Billy Melton, 5. 61-Travis Knighton, 6. 30x-Bean Elliott, 7. 51s-Beau Smith, 8. 19-Klint Angelette, 9. 51-Jimmy Brooks, 10. 17-Bruce Griffith, Jr., 11. 52-Roger Oakes, 12. 5-Jack Spencer, 13. 28-James Cooper, 14. 3T-Tyler King, 15. 8z-Zach Pringle, 16. 3-Gary Watson, 17. 70-Anthony Reaves. DNS: 1g-Cody Gardner.

“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 9x-Gary Wright, 3. 21-Brian Brown, 4. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 5. 00-Michael Dupuy, 6. 99-Brady Bacon, 7. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 8. 85-Tommy Bryant, 9. 4-Eric Baldaccini, 10. 71-Channin Tankersley, 11. 31-Brandon Berryman, 12. 51w-Wes Miller, 13. 88-Scottie McDonald, 14. 87x-Billy Melton, 15. 93-Chris Sweeney, 16. 12b-Logan Bledsoe, 17. 61-Travis Knighton, 18. 30x-Bean Elliott, 19. 29-Travis Rilat, 20. 10-Ricky Logan, 21. 6-Kyle Hirst, 22. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 23. 87a-Andrew Marshala, 24. 35-Greg Rilat.

ASCS Gulf South Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Brian Brown 404, 2. Brady Bacon 379, 3. Tony Bruce, Jr. 374, 4. Travis Rilat 359, 5. Gary Wright 357, 6. Ricky Logan 341, 7. (tie) Tommy Bryant and Aaron Reutzel 336, 9. Brandon Berryman 324, 10. Wes Miller 321.