FORT WORTH, Texas (Sept. 18, 2013) – Jason Johnson will look to defend his race title as well as continue his charge for a second consecutive Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series championship when the series returns this weekend for the Port-a-Cool® U.S. National Dirt Track Championship at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
Johnson, coming off his third series championship last season, continues to position himself for a fourth as he is the series points leader with 12 races remaining in the 52-race schedule. Heading into the Port-a-Cool® U.S. National Dirt Track Championship, Johnson holds a 37-point advantage over Johnny Herrera on the strength of series highs in feature starts (35-tie), wins (7), top-five finishes (21) and top-10 finishes (30).
“We’re really happy to be leading in points right now,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a pretty consistent year. We’re currently at seven wins and last year we had 14 so we’re down on wins, but overall it’s been a good year.”
This weekend’s venue – which also will play host to Modified and Limited Modified racing – could help Johnson in that championship quest as he has found success on the .4-mile oval.
Johnson, who drives for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s organization in the series, outperformed 41 other drivers last fall and charged from sixth in the A-Main feature to claim the $4,000 winner’s check in the inaugural ASCS race at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. However, it wasn’t the first time he found Victory Lane at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track as he also won a World of Outlaws event at the speedway in 2003.
“We always enjoy going to Texas and we’re excited to be headed back with ASCS,” Johnson said. “We got a win there last year so that was great. It had been a while since we raced there so we dusted off the old notebook for World of Outlaws in 2003 and made the same adjustments and came out with the win.”
Johnson still has plenty of work cut out for him if he is going to secure another series title. The championship lead has changed hands five times this season and as witnessed in 2011, a lead of over 100 points can vanish quickly in the ASCS. It was none other than Herrera that saw his massive lead disappear as his first championship eluded him by one point and remains in prime position to make up for that missed opportunity. Herrera also performed well in last year’s ASCS debut at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, advancing to the A Main and finishing sixth.
The ASCS will open with four practice sessions Friday evening and then run heats, last-chance race and 40-lap championship race. The series will be joined by Modified and Limited Modified divisions over both evenings.
The Modified and Limited Modified field features eight previous winners, including three-time champion and Midlothian, Texas, native Troy Taylor. Other previous winners include March’s Port-a-Cool® Texas World Dirt Track Championship Limited Modified champion John Whittington, of Columbus, Texas; two-time Limited Modified champs Dennie Gieber (Frankston, Texas) and “Little Freaky” Clyde Dunn Jr. (Sunnyvale, Texas); and Paul White (Columbus, Texas), Chris Henigan (Marshall, Texas), Bobby Ruffin (Crandall, Texas) and Sean Jones (Mansfield, Texas).
Gates open for the Port-A-Cool® U.S. National Dirt Track Championship at 4 p.m. CT both Friday and Saturday. On Friday, on-track action begins at 5 p.m. for practice with opening ceremonies set for 6 p.m. On Saturday, opening ceremonies are slated for 6:15 p.m. and racing beginning at 6:15 p.m.
Grandstand tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under Friday and $25 for adults and $10 for children for Saturday. Event parking is free throughout the weekend.
Improving the dirt track experience, fans can now access lineups and results following each race throughout the duration of the Port-A-Cool® U.S. National Dirt Track Championship through a link provided on the Texas Motor Speedway App, Facebook, Twitter and www.texasmotorspeedway.com.
Fans and competitors can visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com or call (817) 215-8500 for additional information on the Port-A-Cool® U.S. National Dirt Track Championship.