MINERSVILLE, Pa. – Danny Johnson has built the reputation as a true “money racer” in the Northeast dirt modified community.
Johnson, of Rochester, N.Y., as a result, has taken a liking to the Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Hi-Tek and its lucrative pay structures and massive point fund. After falling just shy of the inaugural STSS championship to Andy Bachetti last year, Johnson is eyeing the top prize in 2015.
‘The Doctor’ and car owner Chris Gennarelli have committed to a run for the $15,000 STSS Bob Hilbert Sportswear North Region title. The team’s next stop on the series is Minersville, Pa.’s Big Diamond Speedway on Tuesday, May 5 (rain date: May 6) with the 50-lap ‘Anthracite Assault’ special offering $5,000-plus to win, $1,000 for 10th and $400 just to take the green flag.
The unique Big Diamond event offers both STSS North Region and Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc. South Region presented by Scotty’s Speed & Diesel points.
At the April 11 STSS opener, held in southeastern New York at Orange County Fair Speedway, Johnson guided the Gennarelli-owned No. 27J small-block to a podium finish in third. It was a solid kickoff to his bid for the STSS North Region 15k title, posted from a massive $38,000-plus point fund for the eight-race schedule.
“We’re going after the $15,000 (champion’s share),” emphasized Gennarelli by phone. “We’re planning on running every North race. All the shows pay well and Danny has that 15 grand on his mind.”
Gennarelli, a northeastern Pennsylvania businessman who has helped to rejuvenate Johnson’s career with fresh equipment, said his team is geared up for the series with three distinct engine combinations. They have been experimenting with the powerplants in early ’15 events.
Pennsylvania’s Coal Region will be the meeting point between North and South on May 5.
Heading into Big Diamond, Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, N.Y., leads the STSS North Region chase, having won the opener at Orange County on April 11 over Jerry Higbie Jr., Johnson, Tommy Meier and Brett Hearn.
The South Region began at Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway on April 19 with Hellertown, Pa.’s Rick Laubach scoring the inaugural ‘South Jersey Shootout’ victory. David Van Horn Jr., Craig Von Dohren, Ryan Watt and Jack Swain chased the ‘Quaker Shaker’ across the line.
Unique to the ‘Anthracite Assault’ at Big Diamond: the Modifieds will utilize sail panels for the only time this season. Sail panels are a staple of the STSS North Region and will be utilized during South Region events at Big Diamond and N.J.’s New Egypt Speedway June 11.
The 2015 ‘Anthracite Assault’ running will be the second edition of this race. The first took place nearly four years ago, on July 26, 2011, and was won by Friesen, narrowly holding off Duane Howard.