LAS VEGAS – A decade’s worth of experience racing on the three-eighths-mile paved oval at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway proved to be just what Justin Johnson needed to win the 76-lap NASCAR Super Late Model main event during the annual “Night of Fire” Whelen All-American Series card on Thursday night.
Johnson, 28, started second in the feature race driving the No. 70 car provided by Chuck Trickle and moved to the lead on the third lap. He stayed out front for all but one of the remaining laps – surrendering the top spot briefly after a restart on lap 54.
“The car was really dialed in but the whole time, the car felt like every five laps it was giving up more and more grip,” Johnson said. “Managing the tires is a huge thing in a 76-lap race. When you’re used to doing 40 (laps), you’re used a sprint race. In a 76-lap race, you’ve got to back your corners up a lot and you’ve got to use a lot less brake just to keep the tires cool.
“Trickle Racing gave me a good car and thanks to Star Nursery and Western Mailing – they are the ones who put all the money into it for me to go do this.”
Dennis Rock Jr. finished second and David Anderson was third. Super Late Model points leader Scott Gafforini and Stan Mullis rounded out the top five.
Johnson, who figures he has close to 100 feature-event wins at The Bullring throughout his racing career, made four starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2011, with one top-10 finish.
“I had my opportunity in 2011 to do the Truck Series and I still dream of getting back into that,” Johnson said. “I’ve had a few phone calls to run the trucks again but I just don’t want to jump at the first thing; I really want to get in good equipment and I’d really like to bring a fair amount of money to be able to run well.”