GREENWOOD, Neb. — official release — ASCS photo — It’s the little things that matter and for Wayne Johnson it was a quarter turn of weight that made the difference between winning and losing on Saturday night at I-80 Speedway.
Johnson captured the biggest payday of his career and largest payout in ASCS history by winning the Durst Motorplex/Hotrod Paintless Dent Repair Double Down Back to Back $50,000 Challenge in the Casey’s General Store Midwest Fall Brawl III.
“I could go on and on about the people who help us on this thing,” said Johnson about the myriad of supports on the No. 77x. “There are probably 15 people who own parts on this thing — but I have to thank more than anybody my wife, and my little girl, who’s going to be seven on Friday, that doesn’t get to see her daddy that much because we travel so much.”
Gridding sixth, a good start shot the No. 77x to third before the red flew on the start of the second lap for Blake Hahn and Ian Madsen. On the restart, Johnson was challenged in every corner by Jason Johnson with the No. 41 gaining the advantage on Lap 5. While battling with the No. 77x for the runner up spot, Dusty Zomer began pulling away.
Caution on lap seven for Brad Loyet and Thomas Kennedy, the Buffalo Wild Wings No. 82x marched again away with the lead.
Red on lap nine for Tony Bruce Jr. the race resumed with Brian Brown grabbing everyone’s attention. After starting 18th, the FVP No. 21 was already up to fifth. Hauling after Sam Hafertepe Jr. on the restart, Brown began his battle with Wayne and Jason Johnson until the cushion bit the No. 21, sending Brown flipping in turn one. Trying to avoid the crash, Hafertepe and Jerrod Schneiderman’s nights ended as the pair made contact.
With the red open, the adjustment that changed the course of Wayne Johnson’s night put the No. 77x on rail on the restart. Working back around Jason Johnson on the restart, Wayne set his sights on Zomer. Working every line that the No. 82 wasn’t, there wasn’t a fan seated as Johnson made the race-winning pass on lap 24.
“I tell you what; we were in trouble before that red came out,” said Johnson. “We really were, we were so damn tight down there and we couldn’t even turn. I knew (Brian) Brown was coming and I bounced it through the hole and like to knock the fence down, then I guess he did right behind me.”
Following the win, Phil Durst, of Durst Motorplex, awarded Wayne Johnson with an additional $1,000, bringing his overall weekend winnings to $61,150.
Working into the mix in the closing laps, twelfth starting Danny Lasoski worked past Jason Johnson and Dusty Zomer for the runner-up spot.
“We weren’t quite as good as we were last night, but Mark Burch and everyone with Mark Burch Motorsports did a phenomenal job,” Lasoski said. “We just ended up second and the No. 77x did a great job and they deserve to win.”
After leading the first 23 laps, Dusty Zomer grabbed the final podium step.
“We didn’t need that open red,” chuckled Zomer. “I know a couple guys were going to fine turn their car but we had a great game plan going, and it was working really well. We made some great laps there at the end but the longer the run, it seemed like I got a little bit worse, and that open red just let these guys come on but we led a lot of laps, had a lot of fun, and ended up on the front stretch both nights.”
Jason Johnson ended up fourth, cutting his deficit on Loyet from 112 to 72 going into the Hockett/McMillin Memorial. Knoxville Raceway regular Clint Garner grabbed fifth after starting 17th.