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Jason Johnson Tames Gator for ASCS Gulf South Glory

Lonnie Wheatley, WILLIS, Texas (September 4, 2010) – Louisiana’s Jason Johnson picked off his second win in as many nights of American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Region competition by racing to victory lane in Saturday’s 25-lap feature event at the Gator Motorplex.

Johnson’s second $2,000 score of the Labor Day Weekend triple earned an extra $500 bonus from Griffith Trucking that could climb to $1,000 if he can complete the weekend sweep aboard the JJR No. 41 at Lufkin’s Speedarama Raceway on Sunday night.

After starting fourth in Saturday night’s main event, Johnson battled past early leader Claud Estes on the seventh circuit and led the rest of the way to post his 13th overall ASCS victory of the season and seventh in ASCS Gulf South action.

“We went with a little bit harder tire on the left rear, and that made the difference,” Johnson explained of the win aboard the Don Ott-powered Haynes / Pope Transportation No. 41 Maxim. “It took a few laps to get it going, but once it hooked up it was really good.”

While Johnson gridded the feature fourth, Estes outgunned Brandon Corn for the lead at the drop of the green with second row starters Kolt Walker and Johnson quickly moving into second and third.

After a pair of interruptions in the opening pair of circuits, Johnson squeezed underneath Walker for second entering turn one on the fourth round and turned up the heat on Estes. After making a pair of challenges, Johnson rallied by on the high side of turns three and four on the seventh round to race into the lead.

Johnson slipped away to a near straightaway advantage until traffic came into play at the midway point, allowing Estes and the battling duo of Walker and Aaron Reutzel to chip away at the lead margin.

And, one last opportunity was presented to Johnson’s pursuers when Beau Smith spun to a stop in a turn four scramble just as the white flag was set to fly, setting up a green-white-checkered to the stripe.

Johnson clicked off the final pair of circuits flawlessly though, with Estes posting a solid runner-up finish. Walker held off reigning series champion Reutzel for the show position, with Scottie McDonald shrugging off a nagging neck injury to round out the top five.

Corn was sixth, with the balance of the field scrambling as Skip Wilson and Tommy Bryant got together exiting turn four in a struggle for seventh with the checkered flag in sight. Bryant spun to a stop as the rest of the field took evasive action, with Wilson taking the spot.

With the yellow flag joining checkered at that point, the balance of the field was scored on the 24th lap minus the car in the caution. John Ricketts earned the eighth position, with Greg Rilat and 16th-starter Brandon Berryman completing the top ten.

Walker, Wilson, Johnson, Rilat and McDonald topped heat race action for the 38-car field, with Chris Sweeney and Berryman winning the twin 12-lap “B” Mains.

Kent Lewis, Jr., who topped the May 29 ASCS Gulf South event at Gator, rebounded from heat race issues to take the third and final transfer position away from current series points leader Ray Allen Kulhanek in the final pair of corners of the first “B” Main.

The ASCS Gulf South Region wraps up the Labor Day Holiday Weekend Triple on Sunday night at Lufkin’s Speedarama Raceway, with racing action slated to go green at 7:00 p.m.

ASCS Gulf South Results from Gator Motorplex:

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 45k-Kolt Walker, 2. 12b-Logan Bledsoe, 3. 27-Andy Shouse, 4. 31-Brandon Berryman, 5. 51s-Beau Smith, 6. 16-Koty Adams, 7. 30x-Bean Elliott, 8. 51-Jimmy Brooks.

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 65-Skip Wilson, 2. 30-Brandon Corn, 3. 15T-Travis Elliott, 4. 93-Chris Sweeney, 5. 96-Rod Craddock, 6. 5c-Chris Coker, 7. 28-James Cooper, 8. 58-Gary Floyd.

Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 3. 53-Trey Schmidt, 4. 19-Klint Angelette, 5. 17-Bruce Griffith, Jr., 6. 8-Bruce Crockett, 7. T27-Tommy Garcia, 8. 55r-Rooster Boone.

Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 35-Greg Rilat, 2. 76-John Ricketts, 3. 74e-Claud Estes, 4. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. 7-Michael McNeil, 6. 22L-Kent Lewis, Sr., 7. 8tw-Kent Lewis, Jr.

Fifth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 88-Scottie McDonald, 2. 51w-Wes Miller, 3. 14-Michael Lang, 4. 85-Tommy Bryant, 5. 69-Larry Howery, 6. 3-Gary Watson, 7. 52-Roger Oakes.

First “B” Main (12 Laps): 1. 93-Chris Sweeney, 2. 27-Andy Shouse, 3. 8tw-Kent Lewis, Jr., 4. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. 96-Rod Craddock, 6. 7-Michael McNeil, 7. 69-Larry Howery, 8. 22L-Kent Lewis, Sr., 9. 3-Gary Watson, 10. T27-Tommy Garcia, 11. 51-Jimmy Brooks. DNS: 58-Gary Floyd.

Second “B” Main (12 Laps): 1. 31-Brandon Berryman, 2. 5c-Chris Coker, 3. 51s-Beau Smith, 4. 52-Roger Oakes, 5. 53-Trey Schmidt, 6. 8-Bruce Crockett, 7. 30x-Bean Elliott, 8. 16-Koty Adams, 9. 17-Bruce Griffith, Jr., 10. 19-Klint Angelette, 11. 28-James Cooper. DNS: 55r-Rooster Boone.

“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 74e-Claud Estes, 3. 45k-Kolt Walker, 4. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 5. 88-Scottie McDonald, 6. 30-Brandon Corn, 7. 65-Skip Wilson, 8. 76-John Ricketts, 9. 35-Greg Rilat, 10. 31-Brandon Berryman, 11. 12b-Logan Bledsoe, 12. 93-Chris Sweeney, 13. 8tw-Kent Lewis, Jr., 14. 14-Michael Lang, 15. 15T-Travis Elliott, 16. 27-Andy Shouse, 17. 5c-Chris Coker, 18. 51s-Beau Smith, 19. 85-Tommy Bryant, 20. 51w-Wes Miller.

ASCS Gulf South Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Ray Allen Kulhanek 2,061, 2. Tommy Bryant 1,987, 3. Aaron Reutzel 1,973, 4. Brandon Berryman 1,921, 5. Travis Elliott 1,792, 6. Chris Sweeney 1,711, 7. Wes Miller 1,654, 8. Scottie McDonald 1,587, 9. Beau Smith 1,576, 10. Logan Bledsoe 1,551.