FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WOODSTOCK, GA – Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN came alive in the second half of the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series race at Dixie Speedway on Saturday night to battle back from to take the lead on lap 29 and pull away to take his second straight Chevy Super Series win in the Josh Roberts Trucking Capital Race Car.
Falling back to third was the only hiccup Johnson endured all night long, as he started out the evening setting Fast Time honors with a lap around the Dixie Speedway historic 3/8-clay oval in 14.996 seconds to open the 49th consecutive season of weekly racing at the Atlanta-area race track.
The Chattanooga Flash picked up $300 courtesy of Rome, GA businesses Knowles Race Parts and Bodies, Buster Goss Body Shop, and Tuggle Pool Service, who each kicked in $100 apiece to co-sponsor the award.
Johnson led the first lap from the pole position, and then fell back to third by lap four. Johnson moved up to second on lap 26 after race leader Rodney Martin of Cartersville, GA dropped out after hitting the third turn wall in his Advance Auto Parts Special. Johnson then worked the outside groove to pass Landon Bagby of Winston, GA for the lead on lap 29.
Once he was back out front, Johnson pulled away to take his second straight win. Joseph Brown of Columbus, GA passed Bagby for second on lap 43 with the VP Race Lubricants Smooth Move of the Race. There was no catching Johnson, though, as the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductee took a 1.652 seconds Margin of Victory under the checkered flag.
“We showed this car is fast because we set Fast Time, but we also showed this car races even better,” Johnson said. “The car got better as the race went on, and it was really fast in the second half of the race when we needed it. It was good to see Rodney Martin back racing again and he had a strong run. We’ll never know if I could have raced him for the win late in the race because he didn’t finish.”
Brown finished second in the Lewis Auto Sales Special, and Bagby took the third spot in the Neighborhood Auto Center Rocket. Zach Pilcher of Rome, GA was fourth in the Avery Drugs/Healthmart Capital Race Car. Jake Knowles drove the Knowles Race Parts and Bodies Rocket to a fifth-place finish.
Chase King of Seymour, TN started 18th and finished sixth in the Stinger Race Cars “House Car” to earn the Hard Charger of the Race Award and he was also the Cruise With The Champions Rookie of the Race. Chip Brindle of Chatsworth, GA came home in the seventh spot driving the Hill Motorsports Warrior, and Cruz Skinner of Oxford, AL was eighth in the Skinner’s Body Shop Special.
Chad Wallace of LaGrange, GA took the ninth spot in the Wallace Construction Special, and Scott Hall of Rome, GA rounded out the top ten in the Helbling/Brown Concrete Construction Rocket. Martin took the lead on lap two and led 24 laps of the race to earn the Durrence Layne Chevrolet Roll With Cole Award.
Johnson took the lead as the field fired out of the VP Racing Lubricants Starting Box and led lap one before Martin worked the outside and took the lead on lap two. The first of two caution flags came out with Dale Thurman of Cartersville, GA stalled the Thurman Mechanical Capital Race Car in turn one on lap four.
With Martin out in front in row all by himself, the field doubled up behind him for the Dixie-Style, Double-File Restart. Johnson chose the outside, with the third-place driver Bagby to his left on the inside. Fourth through tenth respectively were Brown, Pilcher, Brindle, Jacques Daniel of Mokopane, South Africa in the Jac Speed Racing Rocket, Randall Powell of Oxford, GA in the Prestrest Transportation Warrior, Skinner, and Knowles.
Bagby worked under Johnson to take the second spot coming off the second turn on the restart, and Pilcher got by Brown for the fourth spot. Martin opened up a half-straightaway lead by lap ten, and the leader caught the cars on the tail of the lead lap by 22.
Martin came up to lap Hall on lap 25 as Bagby closed in. As they entered turn one on lap 26, Martin committed to the outside of Hall, but Hall slid up in front of Martin, and Bagby dove underneath Martin to take the lead. Martin came roaring back on the outside after getting by Hall in turn two.
Down the backstretch, Martin tried to go outside of Bagby to challenge for the lead, but ran out of real estate and tagged the wall going into turn three. That brought out the second and final caution flag. Bagby had Johnson, Pilcher, Brown, Brindle, Knowles, Skinner, Wallace, King and Daniel doubled up behind him.
When the green flag came out, Johnson, who this time chose the inside for the restart, was all over Bagby to battle for the lead, and Brindle got by Brown for the fourth spot. Bagby and Johnson raced side-by-side for the lead by lap 28. Johnson got a big run on Bagby coming off the second turn on lap 29 to take the lead.
While Johnson pulled away from the field, several battles for position broke out behind the leader. Brown rallied back to race side-by-side with Pilcher for the third spot on lap 31. Brown was able use the inside groove to clear Pilcher for the third position on lap 33. By lap 35, Johnson has pulled out to a half a straightaway lead.
Brown reeled in Bagby by lap 39 and worked inside to battle for the second spot. Brown was able to claim the second position for good on lap 43, but by that time, Johnson was in another zip code in front of Brown.
The next race for the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series will be on June 16 at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, TN for a $3,000-to-win, 50-lap main event on the historic 4/10-mile clay oval.
Johnson with 200 points takes a 20-point lead in the Chevy Super Series point standings to the next race over Knowles. Skinner, who is the Cruise With The Champions Rookie of the Year point leader and Bagby are tied for third overall with 176 points apiece and Brindle is fifth with 170 points.
King is second in the Cruise With The Champions Rookie of the Year points and is sixth overall with 168 points and Thurman is seventh with 162 points and third in the RoY points. Wallace and Brown are tied for the eighth spot with 160 points, and Pilcher rounds out the top ten in the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series standings with 158 points.
For more information about the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series visit the series web site at www.525superseries.com, or visit the series on Facebook at Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series.